When Mclean made the decision to live with her dad after her parents painful, shocking divorce a couple of years ago she knew she was taking on a life of moving.
As someone who is assigned struggling restaurants to get back in tiptop shape or close up, her dad is sent to various different towns – and so is she.
From the first move, Mclean decided it was an opportunity to reinvent herself. Each move, each short stint at a new high school, Mclean introduces herself with a different nickname and quickly picks a persona – cheerleader, drama crowd, etc.
She makes easy, quick exits when a new assignment come up – never saying goodbye or feeling particularly attached to anyone or anything.
With their most recent move, though, it doesn’t go as smoothly. She finds herself struggling to pick a new identity and her real name begins being used before she manages to correct them with a new nickname.
Mclean soon recognizes that it’s been so long since she’s just been herself that she doesn’t even fully remember who she really is anymore.
And her conversations with the brilliant boy next door begin to become a little too honest, making Mclean face – for the first time in a long time – the realization that she might miss him when they leave…
Oh, Sarah Dessen…
I have now read (and own) ten of Sarah’s eleven books and have YET to be disappointed.
Yes, there are some that affected me more deeply than others – but not one of them was a dud, in my opinion.
What Happened to Goodbye continued that trend marvelously!!!
First – BIG SHOCKER! This book does NOT take place during the summertime! To date, all of Sarah’s books have been set in summer when there’s an “anything can happen” vibe. Here we begin in a wintery season – during the school year. Big change, but necessary for the plotline for sure.
What Happened to Goodbye has an instantly intriguing start with a unique situation. Mclean’s family life – as Dessen always so expertly portrays – presents a subtle but searing pain that cuts through the broken mother/daughter relationship. Mclean’s continual reinvention of herself is a compelling, denial-ridden issue that is hurting her more than she knows.
Sarah Dessen again provides excellent characters – in particular Deb is very memorable – and a fantastically realistic plot that is drama in its purest sense.
Swept away by writing that is gorgeous – just gorgeous – and a story that is human, raw, simplistic yet beautiful and heartfelt – I fell in love with What Happened to Goodbye.
Lovely, lovely, lovely.