“All the stuff you can’t wait to get away from, until it’s not there anymore, and then you miss it like crazy.”
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um…
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?
Morgan Matson’s Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is one of the contemporary novels I enjoyed reading that’s why I pick-up Since You’ve Been Gone from the bookstore without a second thought or even checking the blurb. The book is sitting in my TBR pile for months waiting to be cracked so when the long weekend came due to special holiday here in Manila I finally grab the chance to start reading the book.
The story is about a girl named Emily who is left by her best-friend Sloane without any explanations but only with a list of things for her to do. For Emily this list is like the key to finding Sloane so she just decided to take the list seriously and try to accomplish everything on the list. Along the way she get new friends Frank, Collins and Dawn who help her crossing out things on her list.
Initially I liked Emily. Her introvert version of herself is fun to read but eventually I get tired of her. I’m not sure if it is because the book is just too long or if Emily isn’t just really deep as I expected her to be. Somewhere a long the way I just started to draw back from her, not caring anymore about her adventures or the list she is trying to accomplished.
Frank Porter as the main interest is quite dull. He isn’t fully developed character. I didn’t see him as his own person. I feel like he is interesting because Emily is saying he is and not because he actually is.
So basically, the two main characters are a let down. But we have two other interesting characters in the background – Collins and Dawn. These two has more personality than Emily and Frank combined. They have more gusto and appeal especially Collins. He alone shine on his own without needing any push from other characters. Too bad he is not allowed to take the center stage.
The story is very predictable. Normally I am not bothered when I can easily predict what will happen in the story especially in contemporary novels. They are realistic fictions after-all which are usually formulatic. But when the journey to the end is not very much interesting or at least enjoyable that is not good. I need to enjoy my way to the end even if I already know what the ending is. That for me is successful story telling that even if your readers know what will happen they still stick with you because they are enjoying the way you tell the story and not because they just want confirmation of the things they already knew.
For such a long novel with enough time to execute the whole plot I still felt that the ending is rushed. One minute we are checking the list then next thing we finally know where Sloane is. I’m not sure if there is something missing in between or I’m just too pre-occupied with other things to really understand what happened.
Overall, Since You’ve Been Gone is not I expected it to be. As much as I appreciate Morgan Matson’s clean writing her characters failed to shine in this novel. This whole effort to check out some list of things to do is not really appealing as I thought it will be.