Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick
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.
This is my second book by Lauren Strasnick, the first being Nothing Like You. Each of these books deals with heavy subject matter and Strasnick is a very strong contemporary writer. All of her characters feel extremely real and her writing is fantastic. I was immediately drawn into Then You Were Gone and I was completely engrossed in Adrienne's story. Adrienne is such a complex character and she had a lot on her plate. I'm sure people will find a way to relate to at least one character in this book and even though this was just over 200 pages, we got to see them each develop in various ways.
Then You Were Gone was a quick read, not only because of the low page count and short chapters, but because of the fast-paced plot. Adrienne's childhood friend went missing after leaving her a voicemail, and Adrienne is left trying to piece together what happened to Dakota. Adrienne learns a lot not only about Dakota, but about herself, as well. Adrienne doesn't always make the best decisions, but she is very determined and independent throughout the book.
Every chapter left me wanting to read more because Adrienne was discovering something new or figuring out a new clue about what Dakota's life was really like. Strasnick tackled a variety of issues in Then You Were Gone and she seems to truly understand teenagers. Strasnick did not try and make Adrienne something that she wasn't and it made her a very believable and realistic character.
I liked the mystery angle of Then You Were Gone, but I felt like everything was leading up to a big revelation which never happened. Things felt a bit abrupt and I was hoping for something more. Still, everything was wrapped up and there were no loose ends.
All in all, Then You Were Gone was an intriguing third novel by Lauren Strasnick. While the ending left me a little disappointed, I liked the grittiness of the novel and how developed the characters were. If you're a fan of darker contemporary reads, I definitely recommend this one and I am eager to see what Strasnick writes next.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars
January 8, 2013/Simon Pulse/224 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher (ARC)