Released: May 2011
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Buy the Book: Amazon
Buy the Book: Amazon
Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?
Out of all the books coming out in 2011, this one right here was my most anticipated. If you're a long-time reader, you know why. If you've just stumbled upon this blog then know this: I am a total and utter fan-girl of Sarah Dessen.
There's always a certain formula that Dessen seems to stick with: a girl with a unique name, family dynamics, realistic issues, and of course a boy. So why do the same formula always seem to work? I have no idea, but I know if I pick up one of her books, I will be glued.
What Happened to Goodbye deals with Mclean. Her family situation is divorced parents and she travels with her father whose line of business is to put restaurants back into shape. The big catch is that when they move, Mclean always finds a way to reinvent herself. She can be anyone she wants to be. That idea is very intriguing because I think everyone can relate to wanting a fresh start sometimes or wanting to be someone completely different.
There was a lot of back story shoved in right at the beginning, and some chapters were a bit harder to truck through because of it. What I found funny about this book compared to her other ones: I was more interested in secondary characters rather than Mclean. I'm not saying Mclean is boring. She has a certain spunk about her, and I envy her way of being able to blend herself into any group without having this shy new-girl syndrome you read in a lot of books.
Take Dave for instance who is "the boy" in the story. He is probably one of my more favorite guy characters Dessen has created. I absolutely loved his character and his relationship with Mclean. Right from the start they had this spark, and not just "romantic" spark but a real connection just as friends. And their second run-in with one another was just flat out hilarious. I knew I was going to love his character right after that meeting.
Then there was the restaurant owner, Deb, that Mclean's dad is trying to help. She was very colorful and I always got a kick out of reading things that were happening with her. Even Mclean's dad was a trip to read because his attitude changed so easily depending on who he was around for the most part. There's also a lot more dialouge in this book compared to past Dessen books, and because of that I felt like I heard more of the secondary characters which is also another reason why I think I was so intrigued by them. It wasn't just Mclean's voice anymore, it was a whole well-rounded fleshed out group.
Obviously you can tell I really enjoyed this book BUT (and it pains me to say a "but" when it comes to Dessen), the 'final conflict' lacked a certain punch to it, and I felt like the overall ending was just wrapped up too nicely. If you are a first-time Dessen reader I recommend giving This Lullaby or Truth About Forever a try before you get into her newer ones. If you have read her other books, don't be surprised when you see a few characters from Truth About Forever, Lock and Key, and Along for the Ride pop up. Sadly, no Dexter, but a girl can still hope for the next one!