Since You've Been Gone
by Mary Jennifer Payne
My rating: 4 stars
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Age Range: 12 - 15 years
Paperback: 224 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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."
Since You've Been Gone by Mary Jennifer Payne
Can you imagine running and hiding in fear from a person you should always be able to run to for love and protection? Edie and her mother have finally had to cross an ocean to step one step ahead of the monster that is stalking them. Will live in London open new doors for Edie and finally give her a chance to become a true part of a school community or will the experience turn into just another nightmare she doesn’t deserve in her young life?
Her new school is anything but warm and welcoming when she becomes the object of bullying and scorn. Even the weather seems to be against her. When her mother leaves to start her night job, little did Edie know it would be the last time she saw her. Desperate to find her mother, alone in a strange country, broke and friendless, Edie concocts a plan that involves getting her hands on the funds she needs to conduct her search and is receives the help of the most unlikely of sources. Afraid of calling the police, because they would contact her abusive father, she and Jermaine, the school delinquent form a bond that goes beyond two outcasts helping each other. With his street smarts and her determination, the hunt is on to find her mother, but the heartbreaking discovery she makes becomes secondary to her own survival.
Mary Jennifer Payne has given us a dark and heartbreaking story, part adventure, part horror and part discovery. Since You’ve Been Gone is well-written, edgy and seen through the eyes of a teen, completely terrifying at times. Her characters are strong, misunderstood, young and not ready to trust authority, due to past experiences and fear of the unknown. I’m not sure there are many people of any age that are equipped to handle what Edie handled in spite of or because of her fears. Still, she feels alive, her emotions are raw and her bravery is amazing. Ms. Payne has presented a tale that will take you to another place and time, wanting to help in the search as well as the hiding, followed by clearing the name of a misunderstood and mislabeled young man. She has managed to pull every instinct and emotion out of me as she tells her story in bold and confident strokes! Is it all completely feasible to my mind? This is where that leap into good fiction snags you and holds on tight!