Archives

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 449 (hardback)
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
four-half-stars
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what? Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find? Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

*I was given this book for review by Simon and Schuster. This in no way affected my review.*

So this review is far later than I planned :( . One for school and stress and part-time jobs. But also because I thought I’d posted it months ago! Sucks for me. Without further ado, here is my review that should hopefully make you want to read SYBG

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GOOONE. I CANNOT BREATHE FOR THE FIRST TIIIME.

Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my favourite Summer books and was such a brilliant read. Emily is your average girl who hides behind her best friend Sloane. Yes, the premise is a bit cheesy (aren’t the MCs always boring and average?) but it’s relatable. Sloane abruptly leaves, and Emily is left friend-less all Summer. In the post she recieves a letter from Sloane with a list of things she must do. The list includes things like ‘dance at midnight’ and ‘hug a jamie’, I thought this list brought a fun element to the story and integrated nicely with the romance and ‘finding oneself’ plot.

This writing is along the lines of Gayle Forman’s, in which the romance isn’t the driving point of the novel, but rather Emily finding who she is without hiding behind an enigmatic best friend. I really liked Emily, and I surprisingly liked Sloane. Usually in these type of books where the friend leaves, the MC becomes insufferable and whiny. I know they’re missing their friends, I know. But I’m not reading this book to slog through pages of whining about their loneliness. Sorry.

Emily handles the situation really well–at first she’s a bit thrown–but for someone who’s not massively confident, she isn’t annoying and wimpy. SYBG handles friendships, love, relationships, etc etc–all the stuff I love, if I’m being honest. I adored how the main point of the book was for Emily to bring herself out of her comfort zone and do things she normally wouldn’t do. Summer books are so great because they always feel like they have so many possibilities. Anything could happen. This feeling of endless outcomes and situations is my favourite thing to read.

Emily’s character develops and grows really convincingly as she puts herself in situations she wouldn’t normally put herself in. The minor characters were also really enjoyable, and I learnt to really like them. Frank wasn’t my type of guy, but I warmed to him more than I thought, and himself and Emily were a perfect match. I got really excited for all the chapters and things on the list to get checked off.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT : What I didn’t like was how easily Emily’s new ‘friends’ wrote her off. One quick mistake towards the end and these friendships kind of fell apart, what’s that about? Suddenly I didn’t like her new friends nearly as much. Nah. END OF SPOILERS END OF SPOILERS.

This book was an awesome Summer read, and I think it’s a must-read for those who love their Summer books. Despite it now moving into Autumn and cold weather, this Summer book might be necessary to warm you while you’re stuck in the cold.

Rating: 4.5 Stars– Morgan Matson I am following your new releases like a my dog follows food.

four-half-stars

7664334

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 4th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
three-half-stars
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

After Amy’s dad dies in a car accident, her mother decides to move to Connecticut. Whilst Amy’s brother is in rehab, and her mother is getting the house ready in Connecticut, Amy is alone in her house in California. She hasn’t driven since her father died, so to get to her new house in Connecticut, Amy’s mother organises her to be driven by her old childhood friend–Roger.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was a fun read with serious undertones, but not something that astounded me. Ultimately, because the romance let it down. (Romance is very important to me and this didn’t tick all the boxes, sadly.) I felt very much for Amy on a personal level, because my father died of cancer, and Amy’s dad died in a car accident. This made it a pretty emotional book to read at times, because I could relate to a lot of her regrets and thoughts. There’s a lot of messages about loss, family, love and life that anyone can identify with.

I loved the travelling aspect of this, because Amy and Roger travel over a whole lot of states in America. America is somewhere I’ve always wanted explore and go on a road-trip to. The UK is so small, that it freaks me out how huge North America is, therefore, I found it so cool to find out that some restaurants  and chocolate bars are only in certain states. Every couple of chapters there’s a list of songs that are from Roger’s playlist, which was really fun, and every chapter there were pictures and recipes which added to the exciting imagery of travelling.

An aspect that I really enjoyed is how Amy steps out of her comfort zone, by defying her mother and by spending a lot of time with a cute guy, when she has spent the last 3 months in her house alone.  Amy’s mother annoyed me beyond belief. Her father dies and her mum decides to move house. I understand the reasoning behind this, but after such a massive change, Amy now has to deal with a new house, new school and all the other stresses that comes with moving states. On top of that, Amy’s mother refuses to have a proper conversation with Amy, and leaves her alone in the house for THREE MONTHS, after her father has died. Neglect anyone? That is simply not okay, and means Amy has to mourn alone. There are so many more things that made me hate her mother, but that would probably take up pages so…

Roger was a cute guy, but was a bit lost and blind to what he wanted. The romance is slow-building and sweet, but nothing mind-blowing. However, it’s not really supposed to be. The last couple of romances I’ve read have left something to be desired! UGH. Anyway, when they realised their feelings together, the novel was pretty much done and there was really no room for any scenes together, which disappointed me. I like to see how the characters are in their relationship and how it develops.

Overall, a cute novel and something I would recommend because it has a lot to offer (travel, dealing with death, romance, stepping out of you comfort zone), and really it was the romance that let it down. Otherwise, it’s a really great book.

Rating: 3.5 stars

three-half-stars