Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne

Release Date - February 17, 2015

Mary Jennifer Payne

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

There are two ways I looked at Since You've Been Gone. First, the adult part of me was horrified, engrossed, and yet curious about one aspect of the mystery. The kid at heart was engrossed with the characters, setting, and mystery. This isn't a long read, but it's one that kept me on the edge of my seat and rooting for 15-year-old Edie Fraser.

For 10 years, Edie and her mother have been on the run. This latest move has brought them from Toronto to London. Things start looking up when Edie's mom finds a job and Edie makes a couple friends on her first day at school. She misses her Toronto friends and definitely misses her cat, but starting over is something Edie's had to do many times before.

This move is different. After her first shift at work, Edie's mom disappears. Edie knows she cannot trust anyone, especially the police, so she needs to search for her mom herself. When a local boy takes the blame for stealing a donation jar that Edie actually stole, she agrees to let him help her navigate London in this search to uncover what happened to her mother.

While I didn't find the mystery behind Edie's mom to be surprising once a few secrets are revealed to the reader, I was surprised by one thing. Given their past and their reason for being on the run, I'm shocked that Edie's mother never had a plan in place for emergency situations. That's also the grown-up in me thinking about such things, especially from the viewpoint of a mother. To a teen reading this novel, that will not likely become a question that is asked.

There's a little bit of drama, mixed with romance, mixed with mystery and that kept me intrigued. This is a book that I would rate as a sleeper. You might normally overlook this book and author, but you'd be remiss if you did.


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