Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Mary Jennifer Payne
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Mystery Romance
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.
I wanted to like this book. Truly. It sounded so interesting the premise – a sort of mystery/thriller. But it wasn’t. It was more of a panic attack, mixed with filler story, with a touch of forced romance.
Edie sucks as a main character. I couldn’t like her. There was nothing attractive or nice or remotely relatable about her. She starts off judging a girl because she’s small, quiet, friendly, and dresses in a fair amount of black, basically kicking her to the curb because she looks different. Then she has the audacity to say that she doesn’t like bullying, but proceeds to make fun of her in her head and get annoyed that this girl is being friendly to her. Like really??
Then her mom disappears and she’s like THIS IS MY SECRET, but wait, I want to tell this person, and this person. But I think I will actually tell all my secrets to this guy who doesn’t like me at all and might just turn me in to save his own butt.
Is that really the best idea?
There’s such an inconsistency between her thoughts and actions. This makes it extremely hard to relate to her or care about what she’s thinking, if what she does is going to be the opposite.
Further, her character sucks. She’s not a frugal spender, and she uses money she steals on ‘dates’ and to pig out on meals that I don’t even provide myself when it’s my own money being used. She generally just had a bad personality and I couldn’t find it in me to like her.
Then there’s the romance. The romance was so forced and didn’t fit at all in the book. She’s supposed to be distressed and anxious, and she is, but it’s hot and cold as the romance takes over the storyline. And it’s so random. They’ve known (and hated) each other for like 20 minutes before they start making gooey eyes at each other and it bothered me so much. She has time to do all these things with him and yet she also states that finding her mother is number one priority (that inconsistency thing again).
The last thing I have to comment on is the writing style. It was a lot of fact fact fact, thing that is actually happening, and then fact fact fact again. I couldn’t get immersed in this world, despite my best efforts. On top of that, there were a lot of metaphors and similes that were fairly unnecessary or irrelevant that just cluttered the narrative.
I wanted to this like this, but there was basically no connection between me, the characters, and their world. I couldn’t bring myself to like them, or feel happy or sad for them. There just wasn’t anything in this book that did it for me.
World Building: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.14/5
eARC obtained via Dundurn via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.