Book 25: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Page Count: 402
Genre: Young adult
Ever since her parents’ divorce, Mclean has been traveling from town to town with her father. Each new school means another new chance to start over, to become an entirely different person. That changes when she moves to Lakeview. Somehow, she’s ended up just being herself, and that’s someone she hasn’t been for a very long time.
I was asked recently what my favorite Sarah Dessen book was. Whatever my answer was then, it has now been replaced with this book, a fact which I find amusing considering there was nothing that particularly drew me to this book.
The characters were all extremely realistic and easy to relate to, even the ones who weren’t all that likeable all the time. They all had multiple levels to them, which I think is part of what makes this book (and this author) so great. There are no Evil characters or Good characters. There are just characters who have their moments like everybody else. Mclean doesn’t always make the right choices, but her actions are understandable, and you can’t help but sympathize with her. Also, I loved Deb – she reminded me so much of myself, just a lot more pushy and outspoken. She’s so startled whenever someone tries to be her friend, like she doesn’t quite know how to handle the situation, and I can definitely relate to that.
Also – a side note on characters – I highly recommend people read The Truth About Forever and then read Along for the Ride and then read this book. The character of Jason will be so much more intriguing if you do. It’s funny – I hated him so much in the first two books that it took me until most of the way through this book for me to realize that it was, in fact, the same person. I figured it would have been too much of a coincidence for it not to the be the same person, but he was just so different. It was startling. And amusing. It’s fun to see how characters evolve throughout multiple novels. Ironically, he’s now the sort of guy that Macy (TTAF) would have related to.
But back on topic – I also found the plot moving and surprising. There were a couple of things that happened that I was sort of expecting, but even those didn’t happen exactly as I thought they would. It was nice to see so many things happen that I wasn’t expecting, even if they were relatively small things. I also found the book incredibly insightful. Perhaps it’s simply because I just saw a friend from college that I keep thinking I’ll never see again but somehow keep seeing, but I started crying when she was talking about how horrible she is with goodbyes. I could also really relate to her feelings of not wanting to leave her parent alone and how she felt the need to take care of that parent and protect them from the world.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The end had moments where it verged on cliché, but there was enough of it that was a surprise that I didn’t mind. Really, the only part I didn’t like was when they were making fun of Dave’s family for their veggie lifestyle, but that’s probably just my being sensitive, so I won’t let it bother me too much. 🙂
I highly recommend this book to those who like lit fic/young adult novels.