"What Happened to Goodbye"
by Sarah Dessen
Pub. Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Synopsis: Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move - four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself - whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out.
Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
This is another book that I LOVED reading. I just love Sarah Dessen, but who doesn't?! Something about her writing and characters engulf me in her books every time. Mclean was an interesting character to follow because I wasn't sure how she was going to react as new situations developed. I already knew she was out of her routine by using her real name at her new school, but would she be able to accept people knowing her real self? Did Mclean even know who she was after so many moves and identities? Mclean wasn't the only character who seemed to lose herself in a new identity, Mclean's mother started a new family and seems to have become a whole other person. This creates a lot of tension in the book and it was interesting to see their dynamic. Mclean also had a very interesting relationship with her father. I had a hard time believing he didn't realize his daughter changed identities like most teenagers change clothing, but he did work a lot. If Mclean's family wasn't interesting enough then her friends surly were. They were a pretty random group Mclean seemed to assemble throughout the book, some of them picking her without giving her an option. That really seems to be the way true friendships are made. I wont even get started on the amazingness that is Dave. He is a dork after my own heart.
Part of the reason I love this book because it does deal with a lot of issues teens deal with everyday-search for identity, parents' divorce, new stepfather, new half siblings, and fitting in at a new school- but Mclean's situations are so extreme it just makes it more interesting. People may move a couple of times while in high school, but Mclean seems to only stay in one place for maybe 6 months at a time. If that isn't enough, the details of her parents divorce is blast all over the media for the world to see. I'm not even a fan of basketball and I enjoyed how the characters were obsessed about it.
I wouldn't call "What Happened to Goodbye" a fast-paced book, but I had trouble putting it down just the same. She is a fantastic storyteller and she knows how to deal with tough teens issues. "Just Listen" and "Dreamland" are the only two books by Sarah Dessen I haven't read, but I will probably be finished them by next summer. Sarah Dessen really is a must read authors for teens or lovers of teen books. If you like Sarah Dessen then check out Susane Colasanti, Deb Caletti, and Maureen Johnson.