What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah DessenPublisher: Viking JuvenilePublished: May 10, 2011Pages: 402Received: audio book from library
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. (Goodreads)
Okay I'm going to admit something that many of you are going to gasp at: This is my first Dessen novel! I know right! What was I thinking having never read a Dessen? I have a few of her books on my shelf, but just never got around to the them. I will be changing that soon , because I absolutely fell in love with her writing!
First, I was looking for a fun book to listen to while working on my blog. I've found it easier to listen to an audio book while I'm working on design type stuff - it's a win/win situation. I came across this at the local library and thought it looked like a good read and it doesn't hurt that the main character's first name is my last name. ;)
McLean Sweet is dealing with the end of her parents marriage by reinventing herself each time she moves to a new town with her Dad. She chose to stay with her father, even though he moves a lot due to his job as a consultant for restaurants in need of rescuing. Each move allows McLean to change her persona, all while letting her not deal with what happened to her family. It's almost like she feels lost and doesn't know who she should be now that her family is no longer together. It must be so hard to not be sure of anything.
During the latest stop, while her Dad is trying to rescue Luna Blue, McLean doesn't get the chance to invent a new self and is struggling with what it's like to finally be herself again and deciding whether she likes who that person is. It's intriguing to me that her father helps restaurants that are floundering, but doesn't notice that his own daughter is in need of his help until this most recent stop and a heads up from her friends.
I loved the friendship that blooms between McLean and Dave, though it didn't totally convince me that they had a real romantic link. They had this kind of way about them that let you know they enjoyed each others company, were crushing on each other, but weren't LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT about each other. I like that they slowly learn about each other and help each other when times are tough. It was a more realistic relationship compared to so many other YA novels out there.
Overall, it's a great warm and fuzzy feeling book. I will be checking out more Dessen books in the near future... leave suggestions of your faves in the comments.