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Wednesday 30 May 2012

Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Count:  402 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: May 10th 2011


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.

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

My Thoughts: Not my favorite Dessen book, but hey, it's Sarah Dessen. It was awesome. 

When I picked up this book I was really needing a light, easy contemporary read and that's pretty much what I got from What Happened to Goodbye. I find Sarah Dessen's books are so similar and somewhat repetitive but at the same time, each of them have their unique qualities that make them super special.

Sarah Dessen has a way of making all her protagonists very relateable and loveable. They're vague enough that we can all pull something from them that reminds us of ourselves, but the girls are still complicated and have their issues that make the book so enjoyable. McLean was not my favorite Dessen girl, but I did really like her. The fact that she didn't know who she really was is something everyone can relate to at some extent and yet, with her character it was so extreme. She literally would change her name, style and personality every time she moved, so she didn't even know who McLean was anymore. Her pain over her mother's affair and trying to protect her dad were so raw on the pages and I felt so deeply for this fictional girl. I find in every one of Sarah Dessen's books I have one character where all I want to do is give them a big hug and talk to them for hours. But in this book, both McLean and Dave where those characters. I loved how akward Dave was and how his filter wasn't exactly in proper working order. The relationship between Dave and McLean was sweet and innocent and made me smile, but it wasn't anything super special. Generic contemporary romance, but I needed that for a break from all the dark stuff I've been reading lately.

We all know that Sarah Dessen is a fabulous author and that is still totally true. But I just hope that in her next book she will be able to come up with something a little bit more unique and different than her previous books. I love the way her words flow and the beautiful stories, but I'm needing something more. Of course, I'll read pretty much anything she publishes, but I was even hesitant about this one, because I wanted it to be special. Don't get me wrong, I did really enjoy it. I just hope I'll enjoy the next book, more.

If you're a Dessen fan and you haven't picked this book up, I do recommend you do. It is light and easy and a perfect book for the season. Tell me, what is your favorite Dessen book? What do you hope to see in her next novel? I'd love to know your opinions, so comment below if you've got something to share.

Have a great day/night!


  1. I read this one a few month ago, and yeah, I agree with you, it's not one of her best. I really like the way she can take a heavy duty issue and weave into a story, like she did with Dreamland and/or Lock and Key.

  2. I haven't read any Sarah Dessen books yet. I actually only really started enjoying contemporaries late last year, abc I still haven't read many of them. But I know a lot of bloggers LOVE Dessen so I plan on reading some of her books soon, and this one sounds pretty interesting. Thanks for the great review!

    1. *and, not abc. That's what I get for commenting from my phone and not double-checking! ;)

  3. I'm in the process of reading it right now for a English project and although it is overall a pretty good book, it just kind of feels like a few of the other love story books I have previously read. She is a great author.


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