Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Source: Library
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.

Combing Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
Review: I love Sarah Dessen’s work. She’s my absolute favorite contemporary author. I really wish I could live in her books. They’re so realistic and awesome and sweet and sad and everything else that life is. Sure, some of her characters have really weird names but that’s just a simple fact. I’ve read all nine of her books and even though I didn’t love all of them, I couldn’t wait to read What Happened to Goodbye when I first heard about it. I didn’t even know the title or what it was about at first. The fact that it was another Dessen novel got me.

This novel wasn’t the most typical Dessen. There is family, friends, the protagonist, a love interest and a central focus for the protagonist (such as biking was in Along for the Ride) in every Dessen novel. This book had all of that but unlike most of her books, this book was focused a lot on Mclean’s family. Mclean’s issues with her mom and her relationship with her dad. Most of all though, this book was about Mclean trying to finally figure who she is. The plot for this book focused on Mclean as she made friends and tried to figure out what went wrong in her life. Why was it exactly that she went by different names and different personalities in any new town? The reader and Mclean realize near the middle of this book that there’s more to the answer to that question than meets the eye.

As always, I loved the characters. I’ve noticed that Dessen’s novels have really awesome secondary characters. Opal, Deb, Heahter, Riley, and Ellis were awesome.They had their own personalities and usually have more to them then we realize. They are also a key reason in why I love reading Dessen’s book. They’re people I’d see in my high school or people I’d like to be friends with. I think the only person I didn’t really like was Mclean’s mother, at first. She was all “But can’t we be a family?” and my reply was always “Ah, no. Don’t you know what you did?” But eventually, at the end, she finally sees the light but that was at the end of the book. Dave, the (some what) love interest in this novel was such an interesting guy. I just wished we got to know him better. I couldn’t really connect with his as well as I would have hoped. He was kind of a flat character in some places. Another thing I love about Dessen is that we meet some old characters. Some make bigger appearances than others but it’s always nice to see them!

Overall: 5/5
Cover Comments: 3.5/5 I’m not always a big fan of Dessen’s cover. They’re just covers that don’t do the book justice and that is the case with this cover. I like the girl standing on the suitcase BUT I just wish they’d done something different.


  1. I absolutely loved this one and I am glad that you did too! Dessen is a fab author! =)

  2. I love Dessen's work too!! I agree it's not typical for sure, but I did love all of the different aspects :)