Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Since You've Been Gone

Plot Summary
Emily was a nobody until Sloane came along and picked Emily to be her best friend. For two years, Emily was able to be included just by being at Sloane’s side, but when Sloane leaves without a trace, Emily is lost. Until a list arrives in the mail, a list like those Sloane would make before Emily went on a trip. A list of dares, of things to do in a new place. Emily is intimidated by a lot of the items on the list - kiss a stranger? Skinny dip? - but is determined to complete them all, because she’s sure they’ll lead her back to Sloane.

Critical Analysis
Though a lot of young adult books seem to have lists of dares involved, written by a friend who has left or died, this stands out as being very original. Matson has a great voice that makes the scenes seem realistic instead of hokey, and the ending is incredibly satisfying.

Read more by Morgan Matson!
+     Matson, Morgan. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young
          Readers, 2011. Print.
After her father dies, Amy is moving across the country with her mother. She decides to drive from California to Connecticut, but there’s a hitch - her mother’s friend’s son is coming along. Amy was looking forward to taking a trip by herself - will she be able to drive across the country with a guy she doesn’t even know?
+     Matson, Morgan. Second Chance Summer. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young
          Readers, 2013. Print.
Taylor has always run from her problems, but when her family goes back for a summer at the lake house their haven’t visited for years, she has to face her former best friend and first crush.

Related Activities
Sloane makes Emily lists of things to try when she’s traveling. It’s an attempt to pull Emily out of her shell, to push her beyond her comfort zone. What tasks on the list intimidate your teens the most? What would your teens include on lists for their best friends? Have them write up a list, or take suggestions for a list all the teens who visit the library can do! If you know your teens really well, write personalized lists for them and slip them into a book they check out! Use Sloane’s list for Emily as a jumping-off point, but if you make the tasks more school and library related, you can keep tabs on the teens and they’ll have fun sharing what they’ve accomplished.

Read it for yourself!
Matson, Morgan. Since You’ve Been Gone. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015. Print.

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