Sunday, 10 August 2014

ARC Review: Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne Synopsis:
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 received the eBook free as a review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review***

I don’t usually review contemporaries because I’ve found that they can be quite repetitive for me but this one sparked my interest straight away; and not because the cover reminded me of Kelly Clarkson’s song with the same name so get all the singing out of your system now!

In the end I’m glad I read this book because it wasn’t the happy-go-lucky love story I’ve read before and while some might say it had quite a depressing feel, I’d prefer to say it was more down to earth because it referenced real problems. There were definitely a lot of strong themes mentioned in this book particularly when we see Edie the main protagonist join a new school. It included standing up for yourself against bullies, and moving on whether you do it through forgiveness or forgetting. I would have liked to see them more developed but the full book is only around 200 pages so the plot had to move fast.

Even with a quick pace Mary Payne still included a lot of time for you to get to know the characters in her book, and by doing this through scenes in everyday places like train stations and of course star bucks it made everything more relatable.

Edie is a very (and forgive the phrase) real character and it was easy to envision what she was going through. The author doesn’t have to say exactly what she’s feeling because it’s easy to pick up through her actions, and I think this is the best way to write characters and a great achievement as well. Edie doesn’t quite have the bad-ass attitude I’ve come to enjoy in YA books, and her strength instead shines through in those terrible situations when you have to fight for yourself and the people you love in not such a physical way. This worked well and also showcased more depths to her personality, rather than basing it on whether or not she can knock someone out with a punch to the face.

The other main protagonist is Jermaine, and while I enjoyed learning about his past as well and how it’s changed him I would have liked even more to see how it influenced his relationship with Edie on a longer time scale. It didn’t feel very rushed as I read it but looking back I realised it was very much a new and subtler version of insta-love.

I enjoyed it all the same and would recommend this book when it comes out in January to readers looking for a very quick read about love and trust, which sticks with you even after you’ve finished.
Favourite Quotes:
“My life is never stable. It’ as if I balance on a series of tectonic plates like the ones under the Pacific Ring of Fire.”

“I was ten years old when we began running, and I’ve been leaving pieces of myself, of my heart, in different apartments, cities, and schools ever since.”

“Did he really forget what it’s like to be a teenager? We’re hardly a team. It’s more like survival of the fittest.”

“If I went punching every twat and idiot I encounter in this city on a daily basis, I’d have fists as raw as mince.”

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