I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne
Genres: Young Adult
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 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.
Tough start with a strong finish.
Thoughts on Since You’ve Been Gone
I have to start by saying I’m not a huge fan of mean girls and bullying, whether or not our main character shows her mettle and quietly stares them down or goes all Hulk on them and shows them she isn’t one to be pushed around. I’m just… it’s not a favorite theme of mine. So when Edie starts her new school and has her initial run-in with the local mean girl AND quietly gives the cold shoulder to the person who initially welcomes her I wasn’t loving that.
BUT… while the bullying theme runs through almost every part of this narrative (Edie’s father, the teachers and students at school treating Jermaine like he’s a delinquent, the boys on the bus, etc), it worked. She’s lived the past five years on the run and she’s tired and strung out from always looking over her shoulder and not being able to put down any roots. While her mom is doing everything she can to keep Edie safe, Edie only sees that they’re in a new place and she has to learn how to make things work all over again.
Other than her mother, she doesn’t have anyone to trust and it drags at her. And, yeah, as a fifteen year old she has some resentment toward the way of life she and her mother lead. When her mother goes missing, Edie sees how fragile their way of life truly is and it’s terrifying.
In the end, this book is about standing tall in the face of adversity. Edie finds people she can lean on and she comes to understand that she’s not alone. By facing her fears and reaching out to others, she finds a place for herself. It’s not without a price, however, and she has to figure out how far to push before she shatters completely.