Review: Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick

Summary/Cover Image form Publisher's Website
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.

Back in my early days of blogging, I received the opportunity to read and review Lauren Strasnick's debut Nothing Like You. I remember liking it quite a bit, so when I heard about Then You Were Gone, I was beyond excited. It has one of those plots that I can never say no to - former best friend turned enemies, one friend mysteriously dies or disappears, other friend is left searching. Unfortunately this book fell short for me, landing on the "meh, okay" scale of things. Even though I flew through it and found the plot interesting, it lacked the character and plot development I crave.

My first problem with this book? Adrienne. She's an incredibly hard main character to like. From the moment Dakota disappears, Adrienne just gives up on life. She stops doing her homework, she ignores her boyfriend, and barely connects with her best friend, and even though I can understand this type of reaction to Dakota's disappearance, it just drove me insane. Her boyfriend would try and try to connect with her, and instead of her telling him "this isn't working anymore," she just continued to drag the poor guy along. Kate, Adrienne's new best friend, her replacement for Dakota, keeps trying to get through to her, but again Adrienne won't give her the time of day. Adrienne just gave everything up for Dakota, and from her memories and backstory with Dakota, I never really understood their bond. I don't know if it just wasn't well developed enough, or it just never clicked for me, but I was always grasping for why exactly Adrienne liked her so much. Honestly, Dakota seemed like a pretty horrible person. The one character I did like in this? Julian. He seemed more real and relatable than Adrienne, and the scenes with him I always enjoyed. Plus, he did bring out some character change in Adrienne that I liked as well.

This book is relatively short - the ARC I read was only 212 pages. As mentioned before, I flew trough this one easily - it only took me roughly two hours from start to finish. However, just like with the characters, I was left wanting something more. One part of me found the plot to be interesting. I really wasn't sure throughout the entire book whether or not Dakota was alive, and I also wasn't sure why she choose to leave. Those two story lines kept me reading, but the answers just left me with more questions. Plus, when the big question "Why did Dakota call Adrienne of all people?" was answered, I was like "say what? I spent all my time reading this book for that kind of answer." It was just frustrating, and I would say more, but I don't want to give any big spoilers away.

In all, Then You Were Gone wasn't my cup of tea. I wasn't invested in the characters or their friendships and relationships nearly enough. But can I see other people enjoying this one? Yes. And will I try other books in the future by Lauren Strasnick? Yes, without a doubt - I liked Nothing Like You enough to give me hope in connecting with one of her future works.

Grade: C 

Then You Were Gone (Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble) is now out!

Source: ARC provided by Simon Pulse - thanks! 


  1. Oh no, I'm so sorry you didn't like this. From the premise and cover it looks amazing.

    I can't stand underdeveloped relationships and weak characters you can't invest in are the worst. I know that would annoy me too :( But ahhhh that cover is so gorgeous! I really adore it, haha.

    Lovely review, though :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

  2. Aww sorry to hear that you didn't end up loving this one. I hadn't heard of it before now but it does sound like an interesting plot. That really stinks that the MC ended up being unlikable. It makes it so hard to connect and enjoy when that happens. Hope you enjoy your next read much more! Great honest review!


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