Review Copy: Since You’ve Been Gone

This look at abuse and running from or facing your problems is mediocre at best. #spon | A book review by Newbery and Beyond

Note: I received a free galley of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from Amazon:

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.

This book plays out the somewhat interesting idea of a teenage girl, transplanted from Toronto to London.  Her mom disappears, and since they’re on the run (it takes a while for the book to reveal that they’re running from her abusive dad), Edie doesn’t want to go to the police.  She gets help from a school friend, Jermaine, who is supposed to be a terrible guy but is actually just misunderstood (stereotypes, anyone?).

I was so irritated that Edie and her mother never went to the police!  They didn’t have to run; they could have talked to someone, either in Canada or in England!  Alongside this irritation, this was also a short and simplistic story.  I wanted more emotional punch from a book like this.  It could have been a powerful book, focusing on the issue of abuse and the fear of a teenage girl, alone in a foreign country, searching for her mother. Instead, this book could have been any other book, and Edie seemed more interested in getting to know Jermaine than in finding her missing mother.

None of the characters other than Edie and Jermaine were developed; schoolmates were introduced and immediately dropped. Neither Edie’s father nor her mother were really fully fleshed out, and neither of them got much screen time throughout the entire book.

The writing for this book was fine, but I found the plot boring, lacking emotion and originality. If you want a gripping story about abuse, check out Block the Plate (middle grades), Eleanor & Park (YA), or The Witness Wore Red (adult non-fiction) instead.

Rating: Meh

About Monica

I am obsessed with all things books. I'm a music teacher by day and a freelance editor by night.

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