Thursday, 21 May 2015

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Thursday, 21 May 2015
What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Who is the real McLean? 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 Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

What Happened To Goodbye is done in classic Sarah Dessen fashion. It's a cute contemporary with a whole lot of familial issues - which you'll find are a common feature in Dessen's books. McLean's parents went through a rough divorce when her mum fell in love with another man and since then McLean has found it difficult to communicate with her mother instead focusing solely on looking after and staying with her dad. What Happened To Goodbye is about McLean coming to terms with who she wants to be, who she is, and about her regaining trust in her mother again.

I don't always connect with Dessen's female characters, often finding them a little whiny or too dependent on relationships for my tastes but I ended up really starting to like McLean. She's annoyingly stubborn about talking to her mother for the first half of the book - but it is understandable. She is adamant about not getting too close to anyone in case she has to leave again soon but once she falls into an unlikely friendship with a few locals she throws all sense of self-preservation to the wind.

Dave, the male character of this particular Dessen book, is the genius next-door-neighbour that I absolutely fell in love with. His over protective parents don't stop him from developing the type of sarcastic and dry humour that I absolutely adore: "You want to take me to a movie?" I asked. "Well, not really," he said. "What I really want is for you to be my girlfriend. But I thought saying that might scare you off." and just the right amount of cheesiness for me to both cringe at and fan myself over: "Two A.M." he swallowed, then said, "You know. The person you can call at two a.m. and, no matter what, you can count on them. Even if they're asleep or it's cold or you need to be bailed out of jail...they'll come for you. It's like, the highest level of friendship."

The plot of What Happened To Goodbye, admittedly, isn't the most entertaining. It can be quite dry at times, between reading about McLean dodging her mother's calls and her going hanging around her dad's restaurant making up 68% of the book. I loved reading about the friends all hanging out together and seeing them build the model of the town was really funny. Deb might have been my favourite of the friends - her incessant need to have everything organised and her neurotic mannerisms really made me laugh. Riley, who always seems to fall for the douchebags and Heather with her larger-than-life personality who never seems to say the right thing really bring a touch of realness to this story. We all have those friends. So even if I was a little bored, the characters shone bright than anything else.

I've seen people get increasingly disappointed with Dessen's works but for me she's the type of writer whose books I just never want to stop reading. So yes, a lifetime supply of Sarah Dessen books please and thank you.

Quote: "Everyone is something"


  1. I think I've only read one Sarah Dessen book and but I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure why I never picked up another one. This one definitely sounds interesting though so it may be my number 2 :D

    1. I hope you do decide to read it and I hope you like it! It's a really fun read. <3