Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

I still remember the first Sarah Dessen book I read. It was Just Listen and from the moment I picked it up I was in love. She was a writer who understood the world of a teenager and at the same time created a story that had me hanging on to every word. Since then I have read a majority of her books and come to the conclusion that she will never disappoint me.

What Happened to GoodbyeI couldn't wait to get my hands on, What Happened to Goodbye, but in my typical fashion I bought it and didn't get around to reading it until a few weeks later. However, I had it and it was there waiting for me. Finally a couple of days ago I picked it up just wanting to read the first page to see how it started and in turn found myself on my couch a hundred pages deep. The story immediately pulled me in. The one thing I noticed or at least in my opinion is her books start off slow and it takes me a little bit to get through the first few pages and into the heart of the story. That was not the case this time around. The connection I felt with Mclean was instant.

Okay before I get into it a quick overview of the story:

After her parent's divorce, Mclean Sweet chose to live with her dad since she blamed her mother for destroying their family. Her dad's job as a consultant for an eatery chain has them moving around an awful lot, four different places in two years. In every new place Mclean Sweet transforms into someone else. Eliza Sweet, Beth Sweet, Lizbeth Sweet leaving Mclean Sweet behind her. However, when she moves to Lakeview she returns to Mclean Sweet, makes friends, meets a guy and discovers who she really is.

First off Sarah Dessen has a knack for creating an amazing supporting cast of characters. Everyone has their own quirk and makes you want to jump into the pages and become their friends. There are so many times when I am reading a book and as soon as it diverts the attention from the main characters I get bored. Usually resulting in me reading faster to get through it and back to the main characters conflict. Riley, Ellis, Deb, Heather, Opal, Leo, Tracy, Jason, every time they came into a scene I read slower. Each one was unique in their own way and I actually wanted to know more about them.

I loved that both Mclean's parents were in her life, but it wasn't all peachy. They had problems and because of that I loved them more. I understood where Mclean was coming from in blaming her mom for the divorce, but as I read I paid extra attention to her dad and the tidbits of past information she would give and started to slowly understand where her mom was coming from. Which is another thing I love about Sarah Dessen's books, everything has purpose. They are not just words strung together on a page. No. Every word is a piece to a puzzle and it is your job to piece it all together.

Another thing I loved was the relationship between Mclean and Dave and how the attraction wasn't necessarily front and center but more of a steady build up.  My favorite part of the book was when he talked about having a 2am, the one person you can call at any time of the day/night. It was a short conversation, but for Mclean it was an eye opener.

What Happened to Goodbye is right up there with my two favorite Sarah Dessen Books, Just Listen and The Truth about Forever. If you are a Sarah Dessen fan you will not be disappointed and may even find a new favorite. If you aren't, what is wrong with you? Kidding. If you aren't or have yet to read one of her books this is definitely one to consider.

Currently Reading:
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


  1. I love all of Sarah Dessen's books but What Happened to Goodbye is my favorite because it is sweet and easy to get wrapped up in. It charms you into never putting it down until the end and as the story unravles the charters become your friends and your enmies as you see the book from Mclean's eyes. It bis a great read for kids ten and older, I would reccomend it to kids wuth a passion for slight drama and romance with a homey twist that leads you into the winding paths of Sarah Dessen's writing.