Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Publisher: Viking, a member of Penguin Group
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
What Happened to Goodbye is a contemporary novel by Sarah Dessen. This novel follows a teenager named McLean. Ever since her parent’s divorce, she has moved to many different towns with her dad. She has taken these multiple new beginnings as a way to “reinvent” who she is each time.
Our main character is McLean, although she is accompanied by friends and family throughout the majority of the story. Some of what McLean did during the book was a bit strange. Despite that, McLean was a credible character. Taking into consideration her circumstances, her thoughts and actions were logical. I enjoyed McLean’s character because she was very genuine.
All of the characters and situations in this book were so realistic. I absolutely loved that I was able to put myself in each character’s shoes which helped me connect even more with them. None of the situations in this book were sugar-coated. I enjoyed this because the novel deals with divorce, which is not usually an easy/nice thing to deal with for someone.
Something that I enjoyed a lot about this book is that it focuses mainly on relationships between McLean and her friends/family rather than on romantic relationships. This was very refreshing because so many YA novels (especially contemporaries) focus so heavily on a romance aspect. There was the tiniest bit of romance because, what’s a YA contemporary without at least a hint of romance? I loved the sense of family/togetherness between McLean and her family and friends (old and new).
One thing that I did not enjoy about this book is parts of the writing style. Some parts of the book were very jumpy and confusing. For example, the story would suddenly shift to a flashback and then go back to the present with no warning or context set.
Like with the previous Sarah Dessen book I read (click here to check out my Goodreads review for The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen), and most of the contemporaries that I have read, the ending of What Happened to Goodbye was very happy (and a bit far-fetched but I guess anything is possible). Happy endings (specifically in contemporaries) do not bother me much since that is the type of ending that I would usually expect.
All-in-all, this was quite an enjoyable read. I never really felt bored while reading it, it was definitely an easy to read page-turner! If you want a refreshing YA contemporary that is heavily focused on family and friend relationships rather than romance, I suggest checking out What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen!
Happy reading and I hope you have a lovely day!🌻