Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5
Ever since her parent’s divorce, Mclean has accompanied her dad across the states per requested by his job. In every town and school, Mclean wants to reinvent herself from preppy, scholarly, cool, etc. In the latest town, Lakeview, Mclean may take on the biggest challenge of all: being herself. Mclean hasn’t been Mclean for a long time and it’s coming back to bite her.Sarah Dessen’s novels are my comfort reads; I know what to expect from her works. I expect for my heartstrings to be tugged, my heartbeat to flutter, and my feet firmly planted in her world. What Happened to Goodbye was just what I needed during those stressful days of school. Some readers of Dessen’s work may be a bit tired of her predictable plotline, but not me. I think Sarah Dessen’s basic book skeleton can fit into many contemporary or even paranormal novels, but they’re still different in the details.
Dessen grounds the reader before taking them for a ride. We know the background of the story (why Mclean does what she does, why her parents divorce, how her dad came into his new job, and who’s who) before throwing them into a pot and mixing them together.
The characters are so human and flawed and mesh so nicely with each other that I went back and reread the entire novel as soon as I finished. Even the most evil of actions (cheating, lying, ignoring) is well explained with clear reasons that I can’t help but accept every sorry, every tear drop, and every line. Heck, I almost cried (or maybe it was due to stress) during one of the climaxes of the novel.
Fans of Sarah Dessen don’t want to miss What Happened to Goodbye. Seriously you don’t; pick this book up. It’s everything you would want and expect in Dessen’s novels.
Source: unsolicited review copy from Viking
Published: 2011, May 10