Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Straight Reading From the Library: She's Gone by Joye Emmens - Review and Giveaway

This review is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Joye will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


It’s 1969. Jolie stands on the deck of her parents’ Santa Barbara home watching an uncontrolled oil spill. She’s outraged and motivated to do something about it. Jolie’s father may be an oil executive, but that doesn’t stop her from hitchhiking to the harbor and joining an anti-oil drilling protest.

When a television broadcast shows her protesting, Jolie’s father prohibits any more involvement. This fuels the fire burning inside of her, and she flees home with Will, her older, activist boyfriend. Idealistic and ready for anything, Jolie follows Will and his big promises into the sixties’ cultural revolution to create a better society.

Thrown into an adult world, Jolie lies about her age and identity and quickly discovers that nearly everything is more complicated than it seems on the surface—Will included. In this psychological love story, Jolie’s emotional journey from California to the East Coast, is one of pain, resilience, fear, and hope, as she navigates an increasingly controlling boyfriend and her own personal convictions.

Filled with colorful settings, characters, and the music of the times, She’s Gone is an authentic and heartfelt story of self-discovery that follows a young woman’s spiritual odyssey through the domestic unrest of the Vietnam War, the start of the environmental movement, and the Women’s Liberation Movement. Many of the social and political issues continue to be relevant today.


This was a very enjoyable book that captured the idealism and drive to better the world experienced by a lot of the kids during the "hippie generation." The main character, Jolie, sets out with her older boyfriend after increasing tension at home over her activism over oil spills with her oil executive father come to a head. Will promises her "freedom" but the freedom she experiences is anything but.

I really felt for the main character who was thrust into a world she didn't truly understand and tried to fit that world together with her own sense of what was right. The trust she placed in Will was sorely tested as he kept trying to find the utopia he desired so he could fulfill his own sense of destiny.

In many ways, even though Jolie was several years younger, she displayed much more maturity than Will during their various journeys, and I really enjoyed seeing her grow as a character through all the experiences she had.

4 stars.

A muscle car groaned up the street and turned up the driveway. They were on time. She walked back through the kitchen, picked up her pack, and placed the envelope on the counter next to the notepad. She paused, lifted the letter and brushed it to her lips. “I love you, Mom and Dad,” she whispered. “Please understand, I have to do this.”

She set it back down and walked out of the house, not daring to glance back. A newer blue Camaro idled in the driveway. Will sat in the passenger seat. A young woman stood by the open driver’s door. She was dressed in pale yellow poplin shorts, a matching top, and a wide, white plastic belt.

“I’m Pattie. I guess I’m your ride.”

“Nice to meet you, Pattie. I’m Jolie.”

Jolie pulled the seat forward and slipped into the backseat. Pattie got in, and the car purred down the driveway. Will looked back at her and smiled his wide disarming smile.

“Emancipation day!” he said.

“Isn’t she a little young for you?” Pattie asked, scowling at Will. “Where exactly are we going?”

“700 miles north of here. It’s on your way. It’s just a short detour outside of Dunsmuir. You can drop us off at the ranch and be on your way.”

“What’s at the ranch?” Pattie said.


All Jolie knew about the ranch was that it was located somewhere in the mountains of Siskiyou County, in Northern California.

Pattie studied her in the rear view mirror. “How old are you, Jolie?”

Jolie glanced at Will. Hadn’t this all been prearranged? He had told her Pattie was going back to college in Portland and would give them a ride. She looked into the rearview mirror. Jolie could hardly speak. Her heart was in her throat. “Eighteen.”

So this was how it was going to be. She was already lying about her age. She put her head back and closed her eyes. The engine’s steady hum and vibration cradled her as Pattie drove north on the 101 freeway. Will periodically reached back and squeezed her hand. They stopped only for gas and food. More than once, Jolie caught Pattie’s concerned gaze in the rearview mirror. If Pattie suspected she wasn’t eighteen, would everyone else?

Joye Emmens was born in Santa Barbara, California. She enjoyed a successful career in environmental health before joining Amgen, a biotechnology company that researches and develops cures for serious illnesses. After ten years, she left Amgen to pursue a lifelong dream to write fiction. She lives in Ventura, California with her husband. Her two sons and grandson live in Seattle. Joye volunteers as a Big Sister and mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. (kindle) (paperback)

Twitter: @joyeemmens


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