Sunday, January 18, 2015

ARC Review: Since You've Been Gone

Title: Since You've Been Gone
Author: Mary Jennifer Payne
Publisher: Dundurn Group
Publication Dates: January 24, 2015 (Canada)
February 17, 2015 (United States)
Source: eARC from Dundurn Group via NetGalley
Rating: ☆☆☆☆
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.

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My Review

In accordance to FTC guidelines, I must state that I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne, starts off strong and remains strong throughout the entire novel. Payne does a great job at capturing the attention of her readers by including an opening scene that shows the main character's tough side - a tough side that is revealed to be caused by some major emotional and physical damage. Her writing flows beautifully from word to word to keep readers engaged in the mysterious story.

Edie Fraser is not your typical teenage girl. For reasons that are revealed throughout the book, Edie and her mother, Sydney, have been running for five years. It's a tough life, but it's all Edie knows, and she understands that her mother is on the run to protect herself and Edie. At the very beginning of the novel, Edie finds out that they are moving really far this time - from Toronto, Canada to London England.

The characters in this book are charming and have dark pasts. I really enjoyed seeing how Payne reveals their stories and understanding why they are who they are. Edie is nowhere near perfect, as revealed on the first page, but she's got spunk. I really enjoyed reading her story. Jermaine is also another main character who is haunted by his past, and I love how Payne proves that he's not just another sob story.

There are a lot of emotional moments in this book. I know I'm going to seem like a baby for admitting this, but at the beginning of the book, there is a scene about Edie's pet, and I teared up a bit. I'm an animal lover, so it upset me to see Edie struggle with this moment. But this moment really let me know how emotional the rest of the book was going to be.

I don't want to spoil things for readers, but the very important topic of domestic violence is  tackled in this book, and I'm glad to see that Payne writes about it in a very realistic way. Edie and Sydney's story seemed very real to me from start to finish, and I can see this book helping many teens going through what Edie is going through.

This is a very strong, empowering, and beautiful YA novel for Mary Jennifer Payne. She takes a difficult topic to talk about, and writes about it with beauty, grace, and concern. This is a book that I'm sure will get people talking about domestic violence how we can stop it from happening to people.

Mary Jennifer Payne photo 

About Mary Jennifer Payne

Mary Jennifer Payne's writing has been published in journals, anthologies, and magazines both in Canada and abroad, and she is the author of several YA graphic novels. Since You've Been Gone is her first YA novel. She teaches with the Toronto District School Board and lives in Toronto.


  1. Sounds like a good one! Tough subjects are always hard to approach and I applaud authors that can do it well. Will have to check this one out!

    1. It was! I haven't seen it getting much attention in the blogosphere, so I hope more people start to pick it up and read it.

  2. The pet part of the book made me so angry that I DNFed at 4%.

    1. The sad thing is that it happens to a lot of pets. People aren't just the only victims of domestic abuse.

  3. The pet part totally ticked me off, I was like "What kind of book is this? THAT'S NOT OKAY" then read on. I can't say I really enjoyed it very much, but I'm glad you did.

    1. I thought that was really realistic to include because it actually happens. People think they are safe for a while, but then it turns out differently. I cried, but I knew just how real the book was going to get from just that part.

  4. I read this a while ago now and definitely enjoyed it, even though it was a harder read. It's nice to finally hear your thoughts and I'm glad you loved it :)

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