Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sarah Dessen: What Happened to Goodbye book review

Who is the real McLean?

Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling,
What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

                I have been a fan of Sarah Dessen’s book since I first read Lock and Key, and one of her newest books What Happened to Goodbye didn’t disappoint. In fact, I loved it! Sarah Dessen effortlessly utilizes her signature expressive prose to craft a romantic tale for the ages in this novel. Furthermore, for fans of her previous books, they will be overjoyed to read of the other brief appearances of other characters from her previous books.
                The novel isn’t extremely fast-paced, which gives the readers time to fully absorb the wonderful town of Lakeview, as well as Lakeview's sometimes quite eccentric residents. In fact, for me the characters were hands-down the best part of this novel. For instance, the secondary characters Opal (the passionate manager of Luna Bleu who lacked a filter), and Gus (McLean's handsome and dedicated father), stole every chapter they were in with their dynamic personalities, and hilarious bickering.
              Furthermore, the steady pace of the novel also nicely lent itself in developing a sweet and authentic romance between the main character McLean, and her male romantic interest Dave. In fact, what I appreciated most from this novel was its ability to alter the more traditional, and quite frankly cliché, romance novel through its complex characters. The love felt authentic, based on the personality compatibility the two characters shared, and the chemistry that the two had.
Lastly, another aspect that I loved from this novel was its relatable nature.  Dessen manages to capture through McLean’s development the struggle that most teenagers contend with: discovering their true identity. I am sure at least one of McLean’s issues, which ranged from emotionally juggling her feelings about her parents’ divorce,  learning to forgive her enthusiastic, purposefully naïve mother, falling in love with the boy-next-door,  and determining her true friends, will resonate with the readers as much as they did with me. Therefore, I love that Dessen managed to skillfully pull me into the story, until I not only identified with McLean as she began to find her own voice, but also was motivated me to go on a personal journey to find my own voice.
All in all, Sara Dessen's novel, What Happened to Goodbye is a must read for anyone that enjoys romance, coming-of-age novels, or simply great books! Go to your local library, book store, or online reading database to read it today!

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