Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ARC Review: Since You've Been Gone - Mary Jennifer Payne

*COURTESY OF NETGALLEY*

There I was browsing the titles on Netgalley when I saw a book with a Kelly Clarkson song as the title and I'm so ready to skip it (not because I hate the song - God forbid) when I accidently read the blurb.

(Blurb from Netgalley) 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.

So as Netgalley kindly informed me, the titular "you" is not some useless ex, but the heroine's mother. I wanted this.

Edie is scared of some "him". She has a lot more to deal with than your average hormonal teenager - which includes a lot of moving around, no stability and living in constant fear. Her mom is the only constant in the equation of umpteen variables. And if she goes missing, I can only imagine how much Edie has gone through.

Now there's the problem. Edie doesn't seem to be suffering from severe heartburn. Even though it's narrated in first person the trauma that she's going through doesn't come across convincingly. She waited for more than the recommended number of days to physically start the "Searching for Missing Person".

 "I'm beginning to realize that finding Mom in a city as massive as London is going to impossible without some sort of miracle."

I get her reasoning and the practical limitations, but wouldn't YOU move heaven and earth to get your mom back as soon as possible?

And the hero enters in a tried-and-tested fashion (more details? read the book) and offers to join the one-woman search party. And you know what she does when he turns up at the door? Instead of leaping outside, she went back into her room, applied makeup and admired her curves.

I appreciate the fact that there are PoC characters, but I got pissed when I realized Edie's new friend Savitri is a Muslim (FYI, there are no Muslim girls named Savitri). And there is a lot of A-Z London happening as well (Edie, News Flash: YOUR MOM'S MISSING STOP SIGHT SEEING ).

And then there was some out of the blue make out session and I'm like:
(Shoot me now, please)
I like the fact that the book features a sort of patchwork quilt of less documented side of life (everyday racial prejudice, foster parents for a day) but these come with the bonus of seemingly random complications.

VERDICT: 2 stars

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