Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick
In the tradition of 13 Reasons Why, a suspenseful and heart-wrenching novel from the author of Nothing Like You and Her and Me and You.Two years ago, Adrienne’s best friend walked out of her life. One week ago, she left Adrienne a desperate, muffled voicemail. Adrienne never called back.
Now Dakota is missing. She left behind a string of broken hearts, a flurry of rumors, and a suicide note.
Adrienne can’t stop obsessing over what might have happened if she’d answered Dakota’s call. And she’s increasingly convinced that Dakota must still be alive.
Maybe finding and saving Dakota is the only way Adrienne can save herself.
Or maybe it’s too late for them both.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The girl’s life is shaken up by a certain someone’s absence. It shakes up all aspects of the lead’s life, touching a little on BFF who read smart and funny and not at all lacking in personality… as well as affecting the romance she was having with a boyfriend who in turn read like a puppy too loyal for its own good. Or maybe that’s Adrienne? Puppy dog loyal even when she’s aware of how and who Dakota was/is/could be?
It’s Adrienne’s eventual frank recognition of where she’d fallen short as well as her (not so easy) acceptance of the consequences of those things that mark her truly different. In this lead is no ‘woe is me/pity me’ lead rather she knows what’s up and deals… except her manner of dealing has her behaving bat shit crazy. It’s the why (or more apt, the who) behind this that confused me (just as it confused boy-lead) the most.
It’s Dakota. She’s different and with this ineffable quality drawing others in. There’s this odd fascination people have for her… that in her eyes borders on pathetic because while they’re watching/wanting her, she knows it but doesn’t care. For her they’re malleable boys? Funnily enough there’s truth there, even when it’s hurtful. Hurtful truths, that’s what this girl embodies. And for some reason, I feel there could have been more to her (for all the characters in fact.)
The writing in this one, of Adrienne’s voice specifically, is different and at times even disconcerting. She’s in your face and factual about the day to day of her life; there’s a presentation of teen girl’s life of hooking up and getting smashed, hanging out and being an ass) peppered with said teen girl’s confused/confusing thoughts. I thought it all different as it’s not filled with bubble gum-pop niceties (though there are those, too.)
So her voice was interesting a bit confusing but definitely different EXCEPT I do feel TYWG could have been more emotionally intense. The turn out is almost a let down the way it stands. Would it have been more interesting to let things continue on with the idea of the other being gone? I think so. Why? It’s the in-between Adrienne’s finding out then later knowing the facts where a lot of the
Instead of that, here there’s a return to the before. And I’m stuck wondering if a ‘return to the before’ was really possible with everything else that had happened. More than the neat pairing offs, I’d have preferred more emotional confrontation and recognition that you so and so behaved the way they did because… because of … something more. And see, this is my problem: for such an confusing emotion heavy progression in the story, that ending felt way too neat; it’s the ending that’s almost too happy (save the lack of consequence for key people, of course.)
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