Since You’ve Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne.

since you've been gone



Expected publication by Dundurn Group – January 24th 2015.



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.”


My Review

I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn Group.

This is a relatively short YA book which in some ways makes it a nice, easy read but at the same time, I found myself hungry for more details and a properly resolved ending. Edie is a likable character who is dealing with all the issues of a teenager – bullying, school and boys – on top of being on the run with her mother, Sydney.

The author does not take the time to set the scene properly and we are thrown into action straight away with Edie and Sydney on the run again. I would have appreciated a little back-story on the situation before diving head first into the commotion of the Fraser’s lives, rather than being drip-fed the details throughout the book. The synopsis of this book really got me excited about reading it as it sounded like just the type of story I would enjoy but on finishing it, it just left me disappointed with it’s rushed plot and anti-climactic ending. The romance seemed very forced and hurried. Edie was talking about having sex with him not even a week after their first meeting and on the same day that she kissed him for the first time. I could have believed just the kiss, but sex…? She is only 15 after all and whilst I’m aware that underage sex does happen, she was supposed to be preoccupied looking for her mother. It just didn’t sit right with me. Not in the context of the story.

Another thing that bothered me about the plot is why Edie was so against going to the police. Her mother had been missing for 2 days and Edie knew full well what their pursuer was capable of but still insisted on trying to find her without professional help. I just think that if she was so close to her mum and so concerned about what might have happened then she would have gone to the police straight away. Maybe if she had then things would have turned out differently.

I wish that Payne had explored some of the other characters a little more. Precious and her volatile home life. Savitri with her strict Muslim father and brother. Jermaine and his childhood trauma. The shy, meek Imogen. It seems to me that all of these people could have been used to fill out the story a little more and I would have loved to learn more about them.

The ending both disappointed me and left me wanting Payne to carry on. Everything was just left so unresolved. The romance. The fate of their pursuer. The fate of Edie, even. I think I could have really enjoyed this book if Payne had just bothered to put some more meat on the bones of the plot. It just seemed to me as though she had wanted to get it finished as quickly as possible and as a result she skimmed over major  plot points. I was left really frustrated and this is reflected in my 2 star rating.





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