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review 2017-01-26 11:02
By Mary Jennifer Payne Since You've Been Gone [Paperback] - Mary Jennifer Payne

Edie was fifteen years old when she punched Ranice James in the face and was officially suspended. Edie’s mother Sydney avoids anger like a bad dentist. Then Edie got a phone call from her mom and Sydney told her she needed to pack. Janice was going to be with her mom. Edie was to pack two suitcases not too heavy. Edie and her mom Sydney have been running for the last five years from Edie’s violent dad. Edie and Sydney end up London Sydney ends up with a night shift job and tell Edie to be careful and vigilant. Edie is rude especially to the first person who tries to welcome her to the new school just because the girl was a little weird. Then one night Sydney doesn’t come home from work and just disappears. Edie stole some money from school and with Jermaine Edie sets off to try to find her mother.

I didn’t really care for this story. I didn’t like how Edie stole charitable funds and let someone else who was innocent take the blame. It was also trying to hard to promote racism is wrong as far as I am concerned this is a true subject but don’t go overboard in a short story. This was a short story but still seemed rushed to me. The Biggest thing I really didn't like was Edie herself.

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review 2015-03-23 08:25
Since You've Been Gone
Since You've Been Gone - Mary Jennifer Payne

This book was not what I expected at all. For me it mostly came short on believability for there was none.


I didn't hate it. It was a very quick read and not uninteresting but it had problems, especially once you started to think about it.


Edie and her Mom have been on the run for the last five years. In a hurry, they leave Canada for England (where her mother comes from anyway, so if you really wanted to move somewhere where they wouldn't look for you, why not go to Italy for example). She goes to a new school, but the first girl who talks to her is a bit weird and a nerd so Edie's mean to her. We were supposed to like her?


Edie on school is portrayed very inconsistently. One moment she's being bullied, then she's kind of bullying herself. She seems to have gotten some friends who are no longer mentioned in the whole rest of the book as soon as the far-too-obvious love interest appears.


When her mother doesn't return from her work one day, Edie goes on a quest to find her. Strange people show up at her apartment (making you wonder exactly what they are on the run for), but going to the police apparently is no option. Especially in this new city, where Edie doesn't know anything. At all. 


It's only a short novel but there's a lot cramped in it. This made it feel rushed. Why three stars you ask? Sometimes it's hard to explain but if you just read this book superficially it's okay, it's not a bad YA mystery. And I always like books set in London. My advice would just be not to think too much whilst reading it.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2015-03-04 21:40
Since You've Been Gone - Mary Jennifer Payne

This book and I got off to a really bad start. Within the first few opening pages, I was furious at the main character and her mother, wanted nothing more to do with either of them, and was sitting in tears at a table in the food court at work. But I forced myself to go on, and while I'm glad I finished the book, it fell short for me. I'm afraid my initial reaction to the book soured it a bit for me, which isn't really the book's fault, but I'll try to go into what I liked and didn't like, aside from the book's opening.

My main issue was with the main character, Edie. Over time, I've come to realize that the main character in a book doesn't necessarily need to be likable for me to enjoy the book, and Edie definitely fits the bill of an unlikable character. She's angry, lashes out often, and judges others pretty harshly. There have been plenty of other characters like her, characters that I have grown to like in spite of their cruelty to others, but I didn't feel that way with Edie for a long time. The Edie we see in some scenes seems completely separate from the Edie in other scenes, and I had a hard time reconciling the two. I wish we as readers got to know Edie better over the course of the book, that we got to know more of what her life in Canada was like, just... more.

The story itself, Edie aside, is enjoyable, but I wish it had been a bit longer. There's a lot of stuff crammed into this book, especially into the last few pages, and it felt a bit overwhelming. The book brings up some really good points, and it would have been nice for a lot of those issues to be given more page time or otherwise explained in a bit more detail. I think they would have had a much bigger impression that way. At times, it felt like the reader was getting too much at once, and other times, it was very frustrating to get little hints of what was going on when we were fairly late in the story and wanted to know much more.

I enjoyed Payne's writing quite a bit. I finished the book fairly quickly, despite my initial reaction, and would definitely read another one of her books in the future.

I received a copy from this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

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review 2015-02-28 17:18
Since You've Been Gone
Since You've Been Gone - Mary Jennifer Payne

I received this book via NetGalley.

Honestly this was not the short story for me. The title and the blurb caught me and I was like this is going to be a really, really great book. It seems to have some mystery, suspense. Oh it had it a bit of mystery but it was nothing of what I was expecting.

I have to say this book did have some promise to it but just fell short of what I was wanting to read within the story.
Let me just put into words everything that is going through my head with this review as everything seems like it is a jumble mess.
First off the names of some of the characters. They threw me off as I was not expecting such unique names.
We start off the story with Edie (that is a girl) and her mother having to move. Which of course what teenager likes moving from place to place. We find out later on why they are moving so much, which it comes on so much more later that I first started questioning if we were ever going to be told.

When they move to London, of course there is new adjustments, and Edie is trying to fit in with her new school and keep her head down. Of course that is impossible to do. Especially when you have bullies.

Then when Edie's mother starts her new job and doesn't come home that is when the story took a nose dive for me. I understood the reasoning behind Edie not getting the police involved but she wasn't making it to me, her top priority.
That is when Edie does not a good thing, she ends up stealing and the person who catches her ends up trying to help her find her mother.

Jermaine and Edie spend a majority of the time running around not getting full answers, and eating. I kid you not I felt they were worried more about spending the stolen money on food.
When we do find out what happened with her mother it was one of those oh wow that wasn't as bad as I thought type thing I thought it was going to be something gory and horrendous and then we go on a full blown search for the killer.

The characters now they did not really click with me as I hoped. Edie drove me crazy she just didn't seem like a nice person at times. She picked on someone because they were different than her. Which I give her props because at the end she makes up for her wrongs.
Jermaine I felt sorry for him once he let us know what his background was about.
Those were really the only main characters.

Now you may enjoy this story more than I did. I think if the author developed the characters a whole lot more and added more suspense then I think this story would have been a whole lot different and better.

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review 2015-01-26 17:22
Since You've Been Gone
Since You've Been Gone - Mary Jennifer Payne

Since You've Been Gone is a book that touches on some real issues and, for the most part, deals with them in an authentic way. Edie and her mother Sydney have been living on the run, escaping her violent father. The way their life has been described is so real... the hiding, the half truths, the starting over. Edie has developed anger issues, a classic sign of lingering PTSD. Her mother has gone the other way, overly calm to avoid anger of any kind.


I thought that Edie's character as a survivor of domestic abuse was well developed. Some of the choices she made after her mother's disappearance seem stupid on the surface, but they are in keeping with someone who is used to hiding and running. She has no trust in anyone, but her desperate need to have roots and to trust leads her to Jermaine.


The only true complete complaint I have is that I wish it had been longer. The story was so good and had such bones. I just felt that some of the issues could have been more developed and explored. Edie's anger was such an integral part of who she was and I would have liked to see more about that. Then there was the issue of racism that came up during a scene with Jermaine and that had proise, too.


My Recommendation


I like that the story talked about real issues and I loved that the ending was not the typical conclusion. A good read!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=10707
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