Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Mary Jennifer Payne
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Dundurn Group
Publication Date: January 24, 2015
Format: egalley via Netgalley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble):
Thank you Dundurn Group via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!
The synopsis for Since You’ve Been Gone grabbed me and I was quite intrigued to give the book a try; however, it didn’t work for me.
The book is short, but very rushed because of it. So much about the story and the characters didn’t get developed well due to the rushed nature of the writing. Yet, at times, I found myself skimming several pages at once due to information and detail that I felt was significantly unnecessary.
The main premise of Since You’ve Been Gone is indeed a great one – a mother and daughter are running from a past they can’t seem to outrun no matter how hard they try and when the mother ends up missing, Edie (the daughter) takes it upon herself to solve the mystery.
While a few side plots are fun and needed in any story, the author tried to fit way too much into this short novel. In addition to the main topic, Payne also tried to fit in bullying, racism, and sexual assault, among other small issues. The story constantly jumped from one issue to the next and nothing received the attention it deserved really. Some of these topics were shoved into the story in a way that made everything feel disjointed and confusing – the racism and sexual assault scenes are short and really offer little (if anything) to the story.
I never connected with any of the characters, including the main character. Again, I think the rushed nature of the novel probably led to this – there just wasn’t time in the novel to develop the different characters in the story.
Finally, I’ll touch on the ending just a little. Typically, I try not to put too much expectation into how an author ends a book because it is their story, their characters, and their ideas. However, this one ended abruptly and left me disappointed. Once again (broken record here, sorry) it was so rushed that it didn’t get the attention it deserved. So, it wasn’t really the way it ended, it was more how it was handled that left me wishing for more. It ends with a fairly intense situation that gets covered in a couple of pages at most.
In summary, I think this novel had so much promise and I think the author has the writing skills and potential to write a great novel. This one just didn’t get there in my opinion.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.