Is it possible to outrun your past? Fifteen-year-old Edie Fraser and her mother, Sydney, have been trying to do just that for five years. Now, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only has Edie had to move to another new school she’s in a different country.
Sydney promises her that this is their chance at a fresh start, and Edie does her best to adjust to life in London, England, despite being targeted by the school bully. But when Sydney goes out to work the night shift and doesn’t come home, Edie is terrified that the past has finally caught up with them.
Alone in a strange country, Edie is afraid to call the police for fear that she ll be sent back to her abusive father. Determined to find her mother, but with no idea where to start, she must now face the most difficult decision of her life.”
Cover Thoughts: The cover gets across the feeling of isolation and worry that Edie feels. While I don’t really like it, it fits the novel.
First Line: Today I punched Ranice James in the face.
Do not leave the cat! DON’T LEAVE THE CAT. Oh my gosh. I can’t believe this. This reminds of The Perfect Man (You know, that movie with Hilary Duff where she moves a ton).
What attracted me to Since You’ve Been Gone was the domestic abuse background and that Edie and her mom have been on the run for years. I found this to be really interesting, particularly the “on the run” part. Mostly because I’ve always wondered how people can just pack up and leave on the whim.
The pace in Since You’ve Been Gone was sort of distracting because it was uneven. In the beginning, Edie’s whisked away to London which was fast paced, then Edie gets used to school for a day or two, slowing the pace down and later, after her mom disappears, it picks up a bit. I loved how Edie was from Canada originally, I have a weird love for Canada, so I loved this aspect. I definitely felt for Edie, she was always on the run, she lost her friends every time she moved and was never able to completely relax.
When Edie goes to school she meets several characters. She meets one girl who she brushes off to sit with others because she finds the girl to be weird. I hated this, the girl was genuinely being nice. Later Edie meets a guy named Jermaine who despite teachers being leery of, turns out to be a “better” person than they think or see. Finally Edie meets a mean girl who hates her for no real reason other than this is high school and that definitely happens in high school.
Some of Edie’s actions after her mom disappears were questionable at times, but given her past and circumstances, I can understand them at least a little. An interesting twist, though maybe a little predictable is that Edie’s father is a cop, which explains how he can always find Edie and her mom. Due to this, Edie’s afraid to go to the police in fear they would believe her father over them, she would be taken into care (if not given back to her father) and her father would find her.
I have to give her credit because if my mom disappeared when I was 15, I wouldn’t have been as strong as she was. I didn’t really like how one of the characters came out of the blue to help her find her mom. Especially given who this character was and how they had previously acted. There’s a slight romance between the two, but it definitely wasn’t the focal point which is good. The romance did feel extremely rushed and random however. The love interest seemed a little too good to be true, especially for a girl he’d only just met a few days before. It was hard to believe it.
I loved how Since You’ve Been Gone took place in London because now not only is Edie dealing with her mom’s disappearance, she’s dealing with being alone in a foreign country. if I was that age, or even now at 23, alone in a foreign country with my parent missing, I would have been completely freaked out. Edie was a really strong character who was determined to find her mom and continue on.
I enjoyed Edie and her mom’s conversation, despite the initial conversation, they really cared about each other. I would have liked to have been able to get more of a grasp on Edie’s past home life. We see the aftermath of it and how it’s affected her, she’s angry, she’s not trusting and worried at times. Something that bothered me is that from the first sentence, readers can tell Edie has a little anger problem, but it’s never really touched on again. I would have liked to see this anger more, especially given her circumstances. I think if there was more of the home life explained, I could get a better idea of “who” they were running from, though it is explained later. I loved how Edie always thought about other families and how they weren’t like hers. I was interested in Since You’ve Been Gone enough to finish it and figure out what had happened.
Since You’ve Been Gone was really easily read, I felt the writing style was done well. I was wrapped into the story curious to what happened and what would happen. I loved how much description Payne put into the story, it really helped when reading. I was really looking forward to an exciting and meaningful book. For the most part, it was exciting and it was definitely meaningful. It gave me all kinds of feelings, angry, sadness and it made me wonder. I love that Payne tried to tackle a domestic abuse past and the effects it has on a child.I think if the characters were developed further, it moved at an even pace and the ending wasn’t wrapped up so neatly, I would have liked it a lot more. Since You’ve Been Gone also could have stood to be a bit longer because in such a short amount of pages, it was hard to get real attached to Edie and get a sense of how her life was for the past five years.
~Would I Recommend It?~
If more people talked about things that happen in their homes that no one sees, rather than feeling ashamed, there might be less violence.
3 responses to “ARC Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne”
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OMG. When they left the cat! I was so sad, as a cat person, but I understood why they had to do it. But it was still so sad. I was a little happier when Edie was finally able to hear about what happened to her cat. That made me feel a little better.
Yes, the cat part made me so sad! I was like “OMG, AT LEAST TAKE IT TO A SHELTER OR GIVE IT TO ONE OF HER FRIENDS”, though she couldn’t exactly just be like “Hey friend, watch my cat, me and my mom are running away for an unknown to you reason”. I was glad when the cat situation was taken care of though. 🙂