'I was still a little amazed that this was happening. That this, the thing that had seemed so impossible, so terrifying, so utterly beyond me, was happening. I was having fun. And that I was the one who made it happen.'
Since You've Been Gone revolves around the summer of a bashful and timid seventeen year old girl named Emily. Before meeting Sloane, her best friend and other half, Emily didn't go to parties, contribute to discussions nor even make eye contact with boys. Yet around Sloane, everything was different and brighter, Emily was different and bolder. The girls have planned their whole summer ahead but one day, Sloane disappears without a trace. Emily is left distraught, yet when Sloane's famous 'to-do list' shows up with thirteen almost impossible tasks for wallflower Emily to complete, a spark of hope ignites in her. What if completing the list could give an answer to where Sloane went and why? However, the list consists of some incredibly challenging tasks which do nothing but make Emily feel uncomfortable and push her self-confidence to the fullest, for example, go skinny-dipping, kiss a stranger and sleep under the stars. These thirteen tasks define Emily's summer and along the way, she makes new friends, finds love and begins to feel comfortable in her own skin. Her new friends help her accomplish the thirteen things. As more tasks are completed, Emily slowly progresses out of her shell.
'I don't think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it's the little things that are harder anyway.'
The book is not only set during the current period of Emily's life but consists of flashbacks to memories of Sloane and events Emily relates to while attempting to finish the list. The book emphasises the power and importance of friendship and how just one person in your life can make a hell of a difference!
'Real friends are the ones you can count on no matter what.
The ones who go to the forest to find you and bring you home.