Like road trips and playlists in your summer reads? This is the one for you!
It's finally summer! I've been waiting so long for summer, guys. I am one of those sad sacks who mopes around in the winter, just feeling sad about how I'm not wearing Bermuda shorts and heart-shaped sunglasses while speeding around on my motor scooter. It's just who I am at my core. And my very favorite thing about summer is sitting on the front porch with a book about an epic summer.
It was summer fate (c'mon, that's gotta be a thing, right?) that my first read this summer was Matson's Since You've Been Gone. I like Kelly Clarkson as much as the next person singing in their car, but it also heightened my hopes for this book. You can't just title your book after a well-known song, basically forcing people to start singing that earworm, without delivering a great story. Speaking of earworms, Matson's books include the characters' playlists. Not only do they give insight into the characters, but they expose the reader to some music they most likely have not heard before. Matson delivers on story and playlists in a big way in Since You've Been Gone.
Emily is looking forward to one of those epic summers with big plans she has conjured up with her BFF Sloane. But when summer hits, Sloane disappears. No note, no text, nothing. Sloane has disappeared for short periods of time when she's forgotten to charge her phone or her parents sweep her off on some glamorous trip, but not for this long. And then, Emily gets a letter in the mail with a to-do list: go apple picking at night, kiss a stranger, that backless dress (and somewhere to wear it).
Emily sees the list as her only way to learn what happened to Sloane (and her summer HAS freed up all of a sudden now that Sloane's AWOL), and starts checking things off the list with the help of (unexpected, overachieving, helpful) Frank Porter. Suddenly, Emily's summer (and Emily) look a lot different than she expected.
For lovers of Sarah Dessen, Maureen Johnson's Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes and, of course, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour (Matson's first book and such a great read!), Since You've Been Gone delivers big and gives you a great summer playlist to boot.