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"Beautifully written and achingly real, Then You Were Gone is taut, suspenseful, and moving." –Ann Redisch Stampler, author of Where It Began
“A gripping story, artfully told. Strasnick writes with precision and beauty.” –Jessica Martinez, author of The Space Between Us
Boys love her. Freak freshman girls worship her. She’s pretty and bitchy and her dark dresses always look perfectly rumpled, as if she’s slipped them on fresh from the cleaners, then rolled around in the barn for a bit.
She wasn’t always this way: shiny and cool. A baby rock god. A high school deity. She used to be just plain Dakota. Fickle, sure. A little wicked. But still, just a girl, my friend.
Right now it’s seventy and sunny. I’m on my back in a plot of curly weeds. I’ve got my hot cell pressed to my ear and here’s what I hear: my name, her voice, muffled, off-beat breathing. Squeaky noises that ride the line between giggles and sobs. I replay the message. Then again, twice more. I’ve heard this thing sixty times since Saturday, when I first saw her name pop up on my caller ID screen.
“Adrienne, it’s me. Remember? Call back, please?”
I haven’t. I’ve done the opposite. I’ve ignored her call all week.
I flip my phone shut. She’s been MIA since the weekend: three successive school absences and an unsubstantiated rumor that she hasn’t been home since late Sunday night. Should I be worried? Guilty?
I dial back. Four days late. I bite my tongue so hard I taste tin.
Posted January 11, 2013
An enjoyable book, but I'm not sure what the point was?!
(Source: I borrowed a copy of this book.)
Adrienne and Dakota haven’t spoken in two years. Dakota has been off singing with her band somewhere, but now she’s missing. The Police found her car, and a possible suicide note, but nobody knows where she actually is.
Now Adrienne is feeling guilty – because Dakota left her a voicemail that she never answered, and feeling sad because she and Dakota were no longer friends.
What really happened to Dakota? And how long will it take Adrienne to come to terms with the fact that Dakota isn’t here anymore?
I’m not really sure what to make of this book. I enjoyed reading it, but now that I’ve got to the end, I’m wondering what the point was.
Adrienne basically spends the whole book feeling guilty, and wondering what happened to Dakota. Wearing Dakota’s clothes, and doing her make-up like Dakota used to. Spending time with Dakota’s sort-of boyfriend Julian, and feeling a bit depressed. She ignores her own boyfriend, forgets her school work, and generally does very little (other than smoke).
The strange thing is that Adrienne and Dakota hadn’t even spoken in two years! Whether this made things better or worse for Adrienne I’m not sure, and why they stopped being friends exactly I’m not sure either.
This books focus seems to be more on how Adrienne feels about Dakota being missing, than what actually happened to Dakota, and the things that Adrienne does in an effort to work through how she really felt about her, and how she can grieve for her, which basically involves a lot of doing nothing other than wearing black and ignoring her friends.
Other than the Dakota storyline, there were a few brief snatches of romance, but nothing much, and Adrienne also spent a little time doing her own sort of investigation into Dakota’s life, which doesn’t really seem to get her very far. There is one small mystery that Adrienne solves, but even that feels a little lack-luster.
All that being said, I did enjoy this book, and it was a quick read. I also liked that the book had a satisfying ending – at the end of the book we know exactly what happened to Dakota – thank you Lauren Strasnick for this!
Overall; an enjoyable YA, focusing on being the one left behind.
7 out of 10.
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Posted January 25, 2015
I could see this being a hard book to connect with if you've never had one of those friends, the kind you know are bad for you, or fleeting, or both, and yet you let yourself get sucked in anyway...but I have, and this book resonated with me so, so hard. I love Strasnick's bare writing style, I love "the supper club," I love that the MC is fully aware that she's her own undoing, and I love the ways realistic flaws abound in the twisted characters. I also loved that Adrianne's family wasn't super traditional but was still awesome, and that no one was objectively villainized despite the various levels of betraying occurring throughout. I sped through this one, and plan to promptly buy all her others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2013
This book had an amazing voice! Too often, in young adult literature, protagonists are described as being different, but they do not necessarily emote this through their language and actions. I became obsessed with Adrienne on the first page of chapter one. She was a girl who didn't need to be described--her voice was the biggest presence in the book. She is unique and interesting and very real. This strength of character combined with an excellent combination of suspense and contemporary personal growth, made this a page turner for me.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2013
Then You Were Gone was a quick read, I couldn't put it down and had to figure out exactly what was going on with Dakota. I couldn't decide if I really thought she was dead, and if so, was it a suicide, or was it something sinister? I was glued to Adrienne, the main character and her grief, inner monologues, her inexplicable need to dress and act like her (ex?) friend Dakota.
I liked how Then You Were Gone had snippets from the past friendship of Dakota and Adrienne, showing where Adrienne's feelings came from and helping me to understand that there was something deeper there for her, and trying to understand what made Dakota tick and what exactly ended their friendship. For Adrienne, to me it seemed that it was unresolved and a feeling of guilt, because she got that phone call from Dakota and she didn't know why she was calling, and then came the rumors she was missing and the speculation that she had killed herself.
Adrienne's relationship with Lee was one that I haven't really read one quite like though. I liked Lee for the most part though, because he treated Adrienne very well while she was being herself, but then it did seem to me like he jumped ship pretty quickly and did some questionable things... Not that I am saying that the way that Adrienne treated him was okay, but still. It seemed like a character discrepancy to me because it doesn't seem like something he would do.
While we have the weird relationship between her and Lee, and the lost friendship and almost worship of Adrienne towards Dakota, Lauren Strasnick also paints a beautiful picture of true frienship between Adrienne and Kate. Kate is a truly likeable character and I appreciate how she supports Adrienne and is there for her and pushes her at the right time. She also has a mouth on her that provides some tension relief for both the reader and Adrienne at the right moments.
Although this book is a quick read and relatively short, don't let it fool you, it packs a lot of plot, a lot of emotion, a healthy pinch of sarcasm and humor, and explores the workings of friendships and relationships and the effects of grief on your life.
Then You Were Gone is for mature teens, because it has drug use, underage drinking, cursing, sex and foreplay and other mature themes that I can't mention without spoiling the plot... Which disturbed me by the way, the unmentioned, but I totally think that it is an important issue to address... And see the ways NOT to handle it.
Bottom line: Quick and hard hitting story about grief and friendship, both the loss of and the true definition of it.
Posted January 20, 2013
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