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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen

Release Date: 30th May 2011

My Rating: 4/5

Mclean never lets herself get too attached...

After the scandal of her mother's affair, Mclean and her dad chose life on the road. But since losing her family and home, Mclean has lost herself too; she's been Eliza, then Lizbet, then Beth - changing her name as often as she changes towns.

Until now. Her neighbour, Dave, is like no one she's met before. It's as if she's always known him, and just like that, she becomes Mclean again. Is it finally time to stop reinventing? Or will Mclean turn her back on the new life she loves, without even saying goodbye...

My Review:
What Happened to Goodbye has a subtle storyline, one where the true point of the plot develops over time and I felt quite content sitting back and reading how Mclean's life would unfold. There were no massive revelations that shock Mclean to the core. Instead, the story starts two years after a major revelation and focuses on Mclean as she continues to struggle with the outcome of her mothers infidelity and her new family.

Mclean thinks she is fine. Sure her relationship with her mother is still rocky, but in general, she is happy living with her dad and moving around to different cities, being able to reinvent herself each time. She just floats through life, going through the motions. I felt watching Mclean struggle with her emotions towards her mother was very well written and realistic as well as how she is torn as to how attached she should get to her new friends. When Mclean finally realises that maybe she hasn't actually been happy and she finally lets herself feel at home, she realises that who she wants/needs to be, is actually herself.

Mclean and her mother really struggle with their relationship, with her mother constantly hounding her, only leading to Mclean pulling away more. Mclean struggles with the fact that so many circumstances are beyond her control. Her whole way of life and anonymity, disappeared and she is hugely frustrated that things can't just go back to the way they were. And even now, after everything is over, she still can't have control of her life the way she would like. It's frustrating and something a lot of teens can relate to.

I really enjoyed all the quirky, oddball characters, especially Deb and Jason. I thought they really made the story and I just felt at home reading about them. Unlike in other Dessen books, romance kind of took a backseat with it very slowly creeping up on Mclean. Dave didn't appeal to me as much as some of Dessen's other male leads have as just like the whole story, Dave is subtle. This said, all of Mcleans new friends are lovable and enjoyable to read about.

Before picking up What Happened to Goodbye, I had read four Dessen books, and enjoyed them all, with one being an all time favourite of mine. So starting a new book I felt very excited and all warm and happy inside. I enjoyed WHTG and I think Dessen fans will be super excited to get their hands on another title. This said, I think some might be disappointed due to the lack of major romance or plot turn-arounds but to me, this story wasn't supposed to be like that and I like its subtle approach.

If you are a first time Sarah Dessen reader I would recommend either The Truth About Forever, Along For The Ride, or my favourite, Just Listen. While WHTG is not my favourite Dessen novel, it does slot in nicely beside her other books and fulfills the hunger that fans have had since Along for the Ride was released in 2009.


  1. Nice review. I haven't read any of Dessen's books yet, which is really weird considering how most of my favourites are contemporary YA. This one sounds good. Just Listen is probably still the one I want to read most.

  2. i can't wait for this book. my favourite sarah dessen book the is truth about forever, i just loved it.
    i'm interested to see the romance take a back seat in a dessen novel, i think it'll be a nice change.

  3. fab job on this review. you make review writing look so easy!

    i adore JUST LISTEN as well but find it hard to choose my fave dessen. maybe b/c i like my top 4 for all different reasons.

    i will have to tidy up my goodreads review and put it up on the blog at some point :)

  4. Cass - Yes, yes you must read Just Listen!

    Anna - I thought it was a nice change. There are alot of YA where the romance is so cliche. While this one is too, it's not so in your face.

    Nomes - Thanks! That's so funny as I am just reading your review of Midnight Zoo and am thinking how beautifully you write and how I wish I could write like you!

    I think Just Listen stays in my mind the most because I have read it so many times whereas the others I have only read once.

  5. The cover is sooo different then the ones I've seen so far! I love Sarah Dessen, and all the books I've read from her so far (about four?) were all fantastic! Can't wait to get my hands on this one!(:
    Awesome review:D

  6. I didnt like just listen that much but WHTG is now one of my alltime favorite books cuz its relatable to real life.I adored it


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