REVIEW: Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick

"Then You Were Gone" by Lauren Strasnick
“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.


She’s standing, clutching a Coke can, dancing in front of my broken mirror.  “Turn the music up?”  Her moves are sluggish and slinky, and while she watches herself, she takes small, dainty sips from her soda.
—Paperback edition


Adrienne narrates this tale of spiraling obsession when her ex-best friend goes missing and is presumed a suicide.  Gothy teenage SoCal rocker Dakota Webb is revealed to be fairly sociopathic over the course of the tale—and sadly Adrienne’s grief for her lost friend/”friend” drives her to be more like the missing girl.

With clipped, rapid-fire dialogue and sparse but effective descriptions, the short chapters breeze by. The did-she didn’t-she mystery surrounding Dakota and then also Adrienne’s suddenly-ended friendship will have readers curious enough for just one more chapter until they’ve swallowed the story whole.

The secondary cast is a mixed bag, but mostly read true to life.  Adrienne’s best friend, Kate, and her slowly not-boyfriend Lee stand out in particular.  The friendships and relationships morph and crack naturally and with great tension.

While the ending has a few twists and turns that lack serious foreshadowing enough to make them worthwhile, Adrienne’s psyche is certainly a matter of journey over destination.

Appropriate for ages 14+.  Sexual situations, underage drinking, drug use, emotional abuse, juvenile delinquency.

Deals with loss and grief, friendship, relationships, dark obsession, self-identity.


If you…

  • Want to explore the layered psychosis of a teen girl
  • Are a fan of good girls gone bad
  • Enjoy twisted friendships
  • Have ever loved the wrong person for all the wrong reasons


YA Mystery

Ppaerback & Ebook, 212 pages

Published January 7th 2014 by Simon Pulse (ISBN 1442427167)

(Review copy provided by Kristen Matzen at Simon Pulse.)

Review by Olivia Hennis, originally published 6/30/2014 on


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