Three months earlier, Jenna Barton was supposed to meet her lifelong best friend Celia. But when Jenna arrived late, she found that Celia had disappeared—and hasn’t been seen again. Jenna has blamed herself for her friend’s disappearance every single day since then. The only piece of evidence is a lone diamond earring found where Celia and Jenna were planning to meet, leading the national media to dub Celia “The Diamond Mom.” And even though Jenna has obsessively surfed message boards devoted to missing persons cases, she is no closer to finding any answers—or easing her guilt. But when her son’s new girlfriend—who suddenly arrived in town without a past—disappears, a stricken Jenna begins to unwind the tangled truth behind Celia’s tragedy. And as long-buried secrets finally come to light, she discovers how completely lives can be shattered by a few simple lies.
Review: Since She Went Away has been a roller coaster of a thriller, keeping me on the edge of my seat, staying up long past my normal bedtime. I’m not one for young adult novels but the story of Jared and Tabitha kept drawing me in as much as the story of Jenna.
The book begins with the discovery of bones in a barn and Jenna gearing herself up for what could possibly be the end of the mystery of her missing friend, Celia. This is where we also see that Jenna is human and gets frustrated (she swears at a reporter). What I like most is that Jenna is a typical middle-aged mom. She’s not lithe and beautiful; in fact she’s jealous of Celia’s effortless beauty. She’s pretty but a bit plain, works as a nurse, downs a little too much wine to calm her stress, and worries about her son’s love life.
When Tabitha goes missing, the story really starts to get interesting. Without getting into spoilers, pieces of the puzzle between Celia and Tabitha begin to mesh together. That’s when I started getting personally involved, wondering who had done what. It became almost like a game to keep the possible suspects and their crimes bouncing around in my head.
If you’re looking for a suspenseful mystery to pick up for your summer read, this is it.