Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

Standalone. Dundurn Group (Feb. 2015) Library
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.

Edie's in a new country, in a new home, and in a new school. Her life, since she was ten years old, has been running away from her abusive father. Her mother has always been there for her even though the whole situation has made Edie angry and a fighter. On her first day of school she shuns the weird kid, makes two friends, and makes an enemy. The next day her mom isn't there to see her off in the morning and hasn't returned since her first day of work which increasingly worries Edie as the days go by. Desperate, Edie becomes friends with the school's pariah, even teacher's treat him horribly, and they set off to find her mom and she finds that to do so she must confront her past.

Edie's story is a harrowing one as she tries to find her mom. There's always the looming tension that her father has come back to get her and take her away. The abuse that occurred because of her father is something that she can't shake. She's always very angry and quick to attack. She's met her match in Precious, a bully with some serious problems. She finds every opportunity to show her who's boss. Precious is only one part of the book. The other parts have Edie and Jermaine, a boy who is seen as dangerous, dealing with racism, obstacles, their past, and finding Edie's mom. I felt like I could connect with Edie's story but only to a certain extent. There were a lot of things thrown at her that I sympathized with however I felt like it was too much. It didn't feel very genuine. The "romance" also wasn't needed. The book only covers about a week and then six months later. It's too soon for them to be feeling close when her mom might be in serious danger.

Although I really liked Edie, I thought that the pace of the story and some of the way the story was written could have been better. I wanted to feel more of an impact as well especially since this story covers bullying, abuse, and a missing person. Since You've Been Gone was an okay read. If it would have been longer I think I would have enjoyed it a little more. Edie was a great character nonetheless and I would have liked to enjoy reading more about her and not the constant, one after the other, obstacles she had to face.


  1. It's hard to develop a romance in that short time frame, especially when there seems to be a lot of things going on in the plot. All that happening on her first day at a new school in a new country...yikes! I'm really curious about what happened to the mom.

    1. What happened to the mom was pretty interesting. It did wrap up pretty nicely despite it's flaws.
      You are right about the romance part. If a book is short why write a romance part at all?


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