Friday, July 29, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Viking, 2011
402 pages
YA; Contemporary
4/5 stars

Source: Library

Is there anything better than a good YA Contemporary by one of your favorite authors, who consistently delivers an enjoyable story with a sweet romance?  I love falling into a Sarah Dessen novel and I enjoyed the multiple references to previous novels (characters, places, things), which help define the Sarah Dessen universe.

I'll admit at first that I was skeptical because the main character's name is Mclean, which to me is a last name and certainly not a girl's name BUT there's an explanation and soon I really felt for Mclean.  For the last two years she's been living with her dad as they travel around the US, each time recreating herself and becoming a new person easily shedding her previous iteration.  Meanwhile relations with her mother are strained as she had an affair and has now set up a new life with a new husband and twins.  But in Lakeview things are different as Mclean falls into friendships easily and begins to rethink her relationship with her mother.

The writing style is distinctly Sarah Dessen and thus comfortable for me as I've read all of her previous novels.  I feel like Dessen does a great job creating complex parents (see-parents aren't completely invisible in YA!) and giving the MC several colorful friends instead of just one.  My particular favorite was Deb, whose intensity and mysterious background make her one of my favorite Dessen characters ever.  Other friends include Riley, Heather, Ellis, and love interest Dave.  Her relationship with Dave is unique and bumpy and not as sawoony as Remy and Dexter's or Macy and Wes's but good enough for people who aren't craving a romantic novel.

I also enjoyed the evolution of Mclean's opinions of her parents.  Although she sided with her father after her mother's heinous betrayal, she ends up remembering how much she really does love her mother and I feel like that's the real meat of the story.

Overall: I like this one; I just happen to love This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever so it suffers a bit in comparison.

Have you read any Sarah Dessen books? What is/are your favorite? Those were the first two I read and I wonder if that's why they're my favorites.


  1. So I'm not a fan of this genre, but I keep hearing such great things about Sarah Dessen that I need to check her books out. ;) Too bad they are all in this genre. Just kiddin, lol. Great review!

  2. I haven't read this one yet, but I do like Sarah Dessen, and I recommend her to my students all the time. I think my favorite is Just Listen, but that could just be because it was the first Dessen that I read!

  3. I just finished reading this one also. I've read some of her others too, and I am a fan. My favorite of her books is Keeping the Moon.

  4. This one sounds so great - I can't wait to read it!


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