Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
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.
I’m nearly done reading all the Sarah Dessen books, and What Happened to Goodbye is my latest from her. It’s also her second-to-latest book as of now, which means it has the normal romantic formula, family drama, and awesome secondary characters, which is why this was yet another nice book from her.
When I initially say Mclean’s name, I was kind of frustrated because it was yet another YA name that you’ll probably never see in person, but the book has its reasons. Mclean’s name has meaning and it comes up throughout the books and its various basketball-related themes and events. And Mclean often reinvented herself with variations of her middle name, Elizabeth, which is a much more common name.
I don’t know if I always connected with Mclean. She was a good enough protagonist, but not my favorite or anything. Same with the love interest. As always, it seems that the secondary characters are what made this book for me. The secondary characters in Dessen’s later books are almost always interesting and entertaining and deserve their own stories.
The main reason I didn’t rate this one higher is because Mclean’s attitude toward her mother just frustrated me. I understood where it was coming from – her mother cheated on her father, they got divorced, she remarried that guy, etc. – but Mclean refused to even believe that her mother deserved to be in her life. She got irritated with her over the simplest things and she often froze her out of her life. Then she kind of made a big deal out of something her mother said that I didn’t interpret the way she did, and that she really jumped to conclusions over.
Anyway, another enjoyable read from Sarah Dessen. Not one of my favorites from her, but a good way to spend a couple of days reading.