Rating: 5/5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
The TL;DR: This is one of my favorite YA books of all time. It got me through the end of not just one but a few very close friendships. It’s lighthearted, warming, and an incredibly good exercise in moving on. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve grown apart from someone who used to be your best friend, this book is achingly relatable.
“All the stuff you can’t wait to get away from, until it’s not there anymore, and then you miss it like crazy.”
If you’ve been reading my blog lately maybe you could have guessed that I’m going through a little bit of down patch at university. Or maybe you couldn’t. I certainly don’t want to write off any friendships that I’ve made thus far as ending here or to make a big deal about them online, but to say that the loss of a close friendship (whether it’s temporary or for good) hasn’t been affecting me this last month would be a lie. Which is why I decided to reread this book.
In the last two years this book has got me through 2 very similar situations in my life where I’ve felt like I lost someone who used to be my closest friend. In Since You’ve Been Gone, Emily Hughes’s best friend Sloane and her family leave town without any notice and the only thing Emily is given is a bucket-list of sorts from her best friend.
The list outlines a crazy summer full of things way beyond Emily’s comfort zone and even digs up past regrets, as if to give her a chance to do them again. The plot of the book moves along Emily pushing herself to complete Sloane’s list in the desperate hopes that maybe finishing it will give her answers as to where her best friend has left to. Finishing the list is what unexpectedly brings Frank Porter, star student of Emily’s high school, into the picture.
This book isn’t perfect. The premise is not something that would likely ever really happen and bits and pieces of the romance are cliche but in the end, I found myself so fixated on Emily’s emotions and how genuine her character seemed, making her an extremely relatable protagonist, especially for someone in my boat.
The list is such an important part of the book. After reading this last year, I created a list for myself to complete in the last quarter of my freshman year of college and it was such a good learning experience. It helped me let go of so much and be happier and pushed me to do things that made me grow and reach out. So if you’re ever having a hard time missing someone in your life, read this book and maybe write yourself a list. I have no regrets, and I hope you don’t either.
“Nothing worth doing is easy,” Frank said. “Especially not in the beginning. But I’m not about to give up.”