San Francisco Book Review – She’s Gone is an excellent story of a young woman who struggles to find her identity in the midst of chaotic times. Her loyalty to the environmentalist movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement goes to show the level of awareness women had acquired in the 1960s. An excellent book that keeps the reader turning pages until the last chapter. Highly recommended.
Readers’ Favorite- 5 Star Editorial Review Joye Emmens deftly explores the political landscape of 1960s America, weaving the war-weary nation with its sundry insurgent groups, from hippy urbanites leaving the city to live off the land in isolated communes to zealous anti-capitalist socialists and the ever-growing Women’s Liberation Movement. It is this turbulent country she aptly portrays to reflect Jolie’s personal troubles and make us feel for her situation with striking empathy. Often, I found myself enthralled in the affairs of Jolie’s life and after each page wished she was closer to harnessing her inner strength in order to leave her controlling boyfriend. Additionally, Emmens’ descriptions of the historical topography of the places Jolie lives in greatly elevates the story’s engaging veracity. She’s Gone, besides being an entertaining exposition into the counterculture that reigned in America’s mid-twentieth century, is a captivating tale of a girl’s adventuresome transition into womanhood. – Alysha Allen for Readers’ Favorite
Red City Review
Joye Emmens creates a thorough world within She’s Gone. In a time of cultural and political revolution, Jolie lives through these rough situations establishing herself as an independent woman through her own self discovery.
It is easy for readers to be sucked in to the story, grabbing the attention from the earliest chapters. The emotions that are felt by Jolie are echoed in the readers. A voice that is distinct, let alone relationships that are unique from one another, is an accomplishment that not every author is able to achieve. The story that was created was one that was rich in character development, in language, and in depth, and one that is recommended to all readers.
She’s Gone, the debut novel by Californian Joye Emmens, is a page-turning blast into a past some of us remember with both nostalgia and a bit of chagrin. Emmens’s Jolie is an idealist who longs to live a full and meaningful life, and this richly drawn coming-of-age story deftly demonstrates that idealism always encounters a world that is strewn with complexities of many kinds. Imagine On the Road set more than a decade later, featuring a female protagonist who vividly comes to life, and whose travels and travails—like the music that sings off the novel’s pages—will remind you of your youth, or the youth you should have had. She’s Gone is a fine read, a book filled with many pleasures. –Russell Martin, author of Beethoven’s Hair and The Sorrow of Archaeology
“I truly loved reading, She’s Gone. I sat down to read a few pages before I went somewhere. Several hours later, I found myself still reading and unable to stop until I finished. Jolie’s story really reached out to me. I could relate to her feelings of not fitting in and know what it was like to be flattered that an older man was interested in her. I loved that she fought to hang on to her individual identity. In spite of hard times, she pursued her own interests and continued to want to make a difference. I highly recommend She’s Gone for young adults and people who just enjoy immersing themselves in a really good story. Children of the 1960’s will also enjoy going back into this time period.” Paige Lovitt for Reader Views
This quickly became my favorite book! This book is wonderful and healing. I loved how the author let me ride along with the main character without telling me how to feel. I discovered the lessons all on my own just as the main character, Jolie, did. I felt like I was traveling with Jolie and learning along side her. I also love how although the character might have felt sad for the hurt she caused, she never felt shame about the quest she undertook. While influenced by an older man, she still managed to take responsibility for her choices and learned from them without becoming angry or being a victim. The author also taught me a lot about not taking on guilt and shame as a result of others’ actions. It left me feeling that even when bad things happen, one can learn from them and hold one’s head high. – Marta Dulfer
“She’s Gone is the heartfelt story of Jolie, a runaway trying to follow her ideals during the civil unrest of the 1960s. When Jolie flees home with Will, her much older boyfriend, she finds herself caught-up in communes, anti-war protests, and an underground news press. The author vividly recreates this turbulent time taking us from the West Coast to the East Coast as the couple tries to stay ahead of the police. Then Will starts to show a darker side, and Jolie has to find her own way. The struggle of a young woman on the run with a man she doesn’t know as well as she thinks she does still resonates today. This is a well-written, touching first novel with memorable characters. I look forward to more from this author.” -Michelle Robin La, author of Catching Shrimp with Bare Hands
She’s Gone is a powerful story of a young girl who is forced to grow up faster than one should. Who finds herself in situations that test her strength and resilience, but has her realizing what’s truly important in life.
Strong, powerful, emotional. She’s Gone is a must read! -Mengle2
Will She Be Back? I am ready to read what happens next! I truly enjoyed experiencing the 70s through Jolie’s eyes. What an adventure she had. Wonderful descriptions of the unrest and emotions of the time. Well written. Can’t wait for the author’s next novel. – Tricia
POWERFUL ! She’s Gone is such a powerful book, greatly entertaining. Each page was exciting. I enjoyed living beside this young girl’s thoughts and adventures. I was moved by how much was going on in the ’60s and with everything she stood for. The author brought you right there in the relationships, day in and out of being on the run, and the hopes and dreams of this exceptionally interesting girl’s personal thoughts . I loved it!! July 8, 2015 Selby
GREAT READ! Fantastic book! I didn’t want to put this one down, and I didn’t want it to end. From page one I was hooked. Throughout the entire book I kept saying to myself, “this has to be a movie! I want to see the movie!”. The main character, Jolie will have your heart from the beginning. you can’t wait to find out what she does next.
Looking forward to seeing what else this great new author, Joye Emmens has in store for us to enjoy. July 15, 2015 Molly C.
Great Bedtime Reading! I loved the main character, Jolie, very sympatica. The novel brought back memories of an era devoted to ‘changing the world’ as we saw it. I found it hard to put this book down once I started. Jolie and cohorts were so real. Joye Emmens really draws a visceral picture of the times. July 23, 2015 Tina C.
The new novel, She’s Gone by Joye Emmens is an interesting and enjoyable read for anyone who has ever wondered what it was like to be a teenager in the Sixties. Or anyone who would just like to revisit! She reminded me of the music, the clothes and the sense of hopeful camaraderie that was so prevalent then.
She’s Gone is a well crafted story that builds with tension right up until the very end. I was rooting for this girl every step of the way! And there are some good lessons to be learned here as well. Such as the the all important life lesson that all women should always keep their own separate bank account. Bravo! I look forward the Joye Emmens next novel. – Val
A wonderful story, very well-written. She’s Gone is a tale of a young woman’s journey across the U.S. Jolie’s journey is initiated in the late 1960’s, during a period of protests in our country. Jolie starts her journey as a protest against her parents, whom she believes are trying to squash Jolie’s innate sense of right and wrong. As she travels across America, Jolie learns much about life, and about herself. The lessons she learns about meditation are as calming to the reader as they are to Jolie. This book is a page turner, right from the beginning. Believable characters, and realistic descriptions of the societal changes happening at that time in our history. Can’t wait to read the next book from this author! Ilene T
“Courageous and spellbinding. An inspiring coming-of-age story set within the political turmoil of the late 1960’s.” Nancy Cook, author of Unclothed: Fashioning a Life, soon to be released.
Important Novel, the more things change, the more they remain the same!
Ms. Emmens has written a gripping novel that thoroughly explores two very interesting topics. The novel is set in 1969 and very accurately portrays the lifestyle and ethos of the times. The book explores many social struggles such as income equality, women’s rights and the rights of citizens to challenge their own government’s actions (Vietnam War) that are still very relevant today. What makes the book especially appealing is the story is told through the eyes and mind of a teenage girl who has thrust herself into the adult world by lying about her age. Jolie is forced to confront many issues of maturing that she is not quite mature enough to manage. Jolie navigates a new adult world of communes, work, Buddhism, and social change while living under the ever present cloud of her dishonesty about her age and family situation.
Through all of this Jolie is able to grow emotionally, intellectually and develop quality friendships. Ms. Emmens does an excellent job portraying Jolie as a very credible person living through the social and emotional turmoil of the late 1960’s.
Read this book, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you remember, lived through or are interested in this very important period of American History. – Oaksusana
The compelling story of a precocious adolescent girl, Jolie, in the late ’60’s grappling with a sense of social outrage and what she perceives as a stifling existence in an seemingly idyllic life in Santa Barbara, California. She jumps headlong into the realities of survival in a largely poverty- stricken subculture of rural and urban communes peopled with fervent ideologues and their somewhat confused followers. She and her boyfriend, an ardent socialist, struggle across the country surviving mostly on Jolie’s strong work ethic and desire to find a path in life based on understanding and compassion. While the main characters’ naivety is off-putting at times, the story’s excellent and accurate sense of place, history and descriptive geography lends credibility to this coming-of-age journey. The story provides some needed dimension in a critical period of American history too often casually dismissed. At the least, young people nationwide were actively engaged in attempting to resolve important social and political issues. -Dave B
I liked the plot and the geographic as well as the emotional depth. I have been to all the places and lived and worked in the areas. I liked the accuracy that came through in the telling of the story. Certainly a good book still for our times and for the young too quickly focused on the allure of radical change. -Vince Moore
Gripping and Rebellious!
She’s Gone is an exciting coming of age adventure that had me hooked from the first chapter. The story transports the reader back to the era of free love. You can’t help but root for young Jolie as she learns the hard way that things aren’t always as they seem, after she runs away from home with her much older boyfriend. The novel does a great job reflecting the social and political turmoil of the sixties while making you feel connected to the well developed characters. Strong themes of rebellion, adventure, and love, make this an excellent read! Highly recommended. -Nick
A good read! It’s 1969 in California and Jolie views firsthand the destruction of the beautiful Santa Barbara coast by the nation’s third largest oil spill. She feels powerless and although she is only a teenager she’s determined to do something about it and join the protests. Her passion is further stirred by Will, a fiercely idealistic activist who is much older than her. Jolie and Will’s ideals clash with those of her parents (her father happens to be an oil executive) and she and Will decide to quit town. It is then that every parents worse nightmare comes true- Jolie disappears without saying goodbye and sets off an adventure that will change her irrevocably.
The novel follows her journey as she experiences both the positive and negative aspects of the 70’s era- from communes devoted to peace and free love to violent protests. She witnesses the beginnings of both the Environmental Movement and Women’s Liberation Movement. She learns the difference between the ideals expressed and the reality of human nature, and sees a growing hypocrisy in Will’s behavior. Eventually Jolie realizes that the man she has chosen to be both her romantic partner and a sort of substitute parent is flawed. He is filled with naive optimism but also has a controlling and misogynistic bent.
Jolie has to mature quickly and she is remarkable resilient. She navigates her way through an often chaotic present, learning what is really important to her and finding her way to adulthood. This novel combines flat out adventure with a historical pastiche of the times. I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good read! Feb. 20, 2015 Bookworm
Kept me awake reading late into the night. An excellent journey in a time that I was a student at Kent State, as well as a veteran of the Vietnam era. I spent some time in Haight-Ashbury where I had the opportunity to listen to Jimmy Hendricks, Jefferson airplane, and many others at Fillmore West. That being said, I feel I had a firm knowledge of the times and personalities of the 2 year journey.. She’s Gone represents the times with great clarity and well researched timelines. I truly hope we can enjoy future adventures of Jolie (perhaps that trip to Tibet) in the future. -Gene Martin
There’s Something Happening Here This novel was a page-turner. The book portrayed a very believable look into the mind of a girl struggling to stay true to herself against the pressures and responsibilities that came her way as she assumed an adult role at a young age. I felt the weight of Jolie’s guilt burdening all of the experiences she had after she left home; it gave me a powerful sense of urgency to find out how she would cope. I also enjoyed the little signs of teenage-girl naivety that made the book that much more authentic. And I felt victorious for her as she found clarity and took decisive action in the end.
I was born to parents who were near Jolie’s age in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My upbringing was colored by the experiences they had in those years and this novel resonated with me for that reason. It was a trip down “Memories of my Parents” Lane. Very enjoyable. Feb. 11, 2015 Amy Walsh
A coming-of-age journey for a generation and an era
Joye Emmens’ novel hooked me from page one as it took me back to my college years at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1969. Jolie’s journey from innocence to enlightenment was the journey of my generation. From peace protests to free concerts and free love, to Kent State and the passing of Hendrix and Janis, the times were changing and so were we.
A good read that left me wanting more. You’ll enjoy “She’s Gone” if you were fortunate enough to have experienced the sixties or unfortunate enough to have missed the excitement and optimism of the times that shaped a generation.-Kathy Peterman
Awesome first novel!
Awesome novel that immersed me fully in the complexity of the 60s. The characters, especially Jolie, evokes significant curiosity about her deeper motivations for the path she’s chosen, or was it choice? -CMH
Great read for the Baby Boomer generation and, for that matter, to share with generations to come!
Ms. Emmens vividly captures the essence of the 60’s revolution as she so persuasively encapsulates the quintessential experience of young people during that time: The allure of the Bohemian culture and desire to break away from mainstream life style. There was a passion to end an unjust war, atone for civil rights issues, and address environmental concerns. Sharing philosophic thoughts within the counter culture in an attempt to make the world a better place.
The protagonist, Jolie, takes you on a journey as she is seduced by a charismatic, and ultimately controlling older man, Will. I was mesmerized by the story telling, as it feels so pure, through a young teenager’s eyes. Jolie is faced by the best and worst of times. She has the inner strength and intelligence to extrapolate the beauty and essence of what the revolution was there to teach, and yet cannot reconcile her parent’s agony, as their only daughter rebels and then vanishes. A Parent’s worst nightmare.The book left me wanting more. It will remain in my memory as a favorite. March 14, 2015 Lupine
Exciting and adventurous coming of age story!
I loved it! I did feel a motherly anxiety through all of her adventures and also it made me think about all of the things I probably put my parents though in all of my rebellion. I loved how she discovered so much about herself and what she truly wanted and although she took something from every experience she ultimately realized where she wanted to be on her own terms. She was so young yet so wise in many ways. It was awesome! I can’t wait to see what’s next for Jolie, can’t wait for the next one to come out! April 6, 2015 Amanda
Don’t miss this one. A coming of age story of a young lady in the ultimate coming of age time period. A nostalgic read for those of us that grew up at that time. A historical novel for younger folks. Our young heroine, Jolie goes on an adventure tinged with a little mystery and suspense. Although somewhat naive, Jolie manages to cope with an amazing amount of guile and maturity. Ms Emmons weaves the story with a backdrop of the cultural changes, music, spirituality and politics of the time period. April 14, 2015 GC
A page turner! This novel is about a gifted young girl coming of age in the late 60s. Through her experiences we get a vivid insight of the times, when there were divisions in families as well as the entire country. Ms. Emmens has accurately constructed a historical novel that tells about the nation’s conflicts and lifestyles of 60s. As a runaway, Jolie has to acclimate to the dynamics of communes and the bohemian lifestyle of her older controlling boyfriend. He leads her across the nation as he organizes others to revolt against the establishment. For those who lived during those times & those who haven’t, this book is so well researched you will learn as you enjoy reading it. Great first novel and I’m looking forward to reading another by this author. April 15, 2015 Pat C
A fabulous read! Took me right back to those times! I couldn’t put it down. Joye captured the flavor of the time and the story was captivating and I didn’t want it to end! May 8, 2015 Laurie
Must Read! Part and parcel with the growing anti-Vietnam war protests in the 1960’s was a growing general disillusionment with American middle class material progress, with the “keeping up with the Jones mentality” and the general emptiness of American life. As alienated kids protested, grew their hair and smoked their pot, they began to reorder their lives and some of them “dropped out” of school and traditional careers to pursue different styles of living, and that’s something our main character does in this book.
Jolie is very young, naive, full of ideals and good intentions, eager to know and do more, and in love with an older man, who takes her into a new world for her.
In this journey, she discovers hardship, friendship and most importantly Herself. This book is full of historic events, social movements and music. Absolutely recommended for everyone who wants to know a little more of this period of time, who gave to the world so many good (and some bad) things. May 26, 2015 Julia
Captivating and entertaining. Our book club read this book and we all loved it. I couldn’t put the book down and I didn’t want it to end. It was fun to relive the interesting and exciting time of the late 60’s through the life and adventures of this young teenager. The story was an entertaining read and kept me captivated wondering what would happen next, as the tensions and personalities of the characters evolved. The May 2015 oil spill in Santa Barbara takes us back to the 1969 oil spill in the same area and we realize we haven’t made much environmental progress in the last few years. I recommend this book and congratulate the author on her first published book. May 31, 2015 Leah
Coming of age story in the early 70’s. Wonderful story about a young girl coming of age at a very interesting time in our recent history. The main character evolves into a fascinating young woman and she meets some amazing people along her journey. The free-spirited time of the early 70’s comes to life, especially with the descriptions of day to day life on a commune. I was sorry to have the story end and wondered about her future adventures. June 1, 2015 Annie
This was an awesome book, I was completely glued to the pages. It’s the story of Jolie and her struggle to become a young woman in the late’ 60s. Jolie lives near an oil platform with her parents and her brothers. She has a very rigid and authoritarian father who works in the oil industry. She is a rebellious girl, idealist who does not want that the environment is ruined by oil. She’s also in love with a boy much older than her and with whom she shares the dream of changing the world. When her father wants to quench her rebellion, enrolling in a strict Catholic school, she decides to run away from home with her great love. But she soon realizes that life is not as easy as she thought and the freedom that she wanted so much not so easy to obtain. I really loved Jolie, I thought she was such a great character. She has only 15 years old but has big dreams: she wants to change the world, to create a more equitable society where there is no poverty Her ideals and her love is strong enough to give her the courage to rebel against her rigid father and escape home. The other characters are well developed and very credible and realistic. It ‘s written very well, does not look like an debutant author. I can not wait to read the next book from her! It’s an ideal reading for those who want to know a little more events of those years: the war in Vietnam, the environment ruined by the damages caused by the oil, the feminist movement. Highly recommended. June 2, 2015 Veronica
Good story. Really enjoyed reading. Tour de force for the time period. Bought 2 more to give as gifts. Book Club Reader
Great book! Once you dive in…you can’t stop reading. It is hard not to love Jolie. She was a character who you couldn’t help but cheer on as she traveled on her journey of self discovery. My dad would have been the same age as Jolie at the time the book was written, so it was nice to get a peek into a window of “those times”. The author had you longing for more, which is why I was sad when the story came to an end. Hopefully, this book will be the first of a series. Great book! Once you dive in…you can’t stop reading. Can’t wait for the movie!! June 8, 2015 CK
Great read! “She’s Gone” is a touching novel about a strength, growing up, being true to one’s self and coming of age. It’s set in the turbulent 1960’s and gives the reader a good glimpse of the issues of the time. The history is real and the story is heartwarming. Highly recommend! Page Turner! June 9, 2015 DP
Fantastic book. Author Joye Emmens wrote a excellent tale of Jolie, a young girl bordering on adulthood, who runs off with her much older boyfriend, Will, in She’s Gone. Will is an activist and the time period is during the days of bell-bottom jeans, love beads, headbands and protests. Protests against pretty much everything with the way of life in America at the time. Emmens gives very detailed and colorful descriptions of the people, places and behaviors in this story. This wonderful story swept me back to my teen years. Unlike Jolie, I never had the courage to just go off to a commune. Having read this tale, I was right not to go. The one thing that bothered me about Jolie is her lack of concern over what her parents must be going through since she ran off. Sure, there is some guilt but it appears to be short lived. The journey Jolie takes, the advantage taken of her inexperience by Will, is full of trials and tribulations and I could barely put the book down. Even if you didn’t live in the 60’s, this tale will give you a real taste of the time. I give this story a 5 star rating and highly recommend She’s Gone. June 29, 2015 JoEllen of Booklover Sue blog
Great story of the 60’s, and how a teenage girl is caught up in the times, influenced by an older boyfriend. I liked the characters, it felt real. I love how the titles of many of the chapters were 60’s songs! Brought me back to my own youth with the feeling of wanting to change the world, and being influenced by an older man, and then finally finding my own voice. July 1, 2015 Tina Comden
“I truly loved reading, She’s Gone. I sat down to read a few pages before I went somewhere. Several hours later, I found myself still reading and unable to stop until I finished. Jolie’s story really reached out to me. I could relate to her feelings of not fitting in and know what it was like to be flattered that an older man was interested in her. I loved that she fought to hang on to her individual identity. In spite of hard times, she pursued her own interests and continued to want to make a difference. I highly recommend She’s Gone for young adults and people who just enjoy immersing themselves in a really good story. Children of the 1960’s will also enjoy going back into this time period. Paige Lovitt for Reader Views