Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Happened to Goodbye: A Review

What Happened to GoodbyeTitle: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: May 2011
Source: Own, bought
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 stars

~ Synopsis from Goodreads ~

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 never been disappointed with a Sarah Dessen book, and this one is no exception. :)

I loved watching McLean grow. She starts out not knowing who she is anymore. Which, given that her entire life is in upheaval after a very scandalous, and very public, divorce, makes perfect sense. She's trying to find herself again, which involves reinventing herself at each school she attends when she moves around with her dad.

But this place, with people who don't really give her a chance to create someone, she is forced to be herself, to remember where it is she comes from and what it is she stands for. Not only does she make friends, where she has been avoiding as much personal connection as possible, but she also brings people together who may never have found each other without her.

Sarah Dessen creates a world that I found myself wandering in, sometimes feeling lost with McLean, sometimes feeling loved with her, sometimes feeling broken right along with her. Sometimes you don't really know what you have until it's nearly too late. But, if you're still breathing, it's never too late.

"Everyone is something."

"Like a blinking cursor on an empty page, it was just the first thing. The beginning of the beginning. But at least it was done." 

"But in the real world, you couldn't really just split a family down the middle, mom on one side, dad the other, with the child divided equally between. it was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two: no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right again."

"If only you could really use a fail-proof system to know who was worth keeping and who needed to be thrown away. It would make it so much easier to move through the world, picking and choosing what connections to make, or whether to make any at all."

"[You're two a.m.] You know. The person you can call at two a.m. and, no matter what, you can count on them. Even if they're asleep or it's cold or you need to be bailed out of jail... they'll come for you. It's, like, the highest level of friendship."

"All those clean, fresh starts had made me forget what it was like, until now, to be messy and honest and out of control. To be real."

"Once you love something, you always love it in some way. You have to. It's, like, part of you for good."

"It wasn't about being happy or unhappy. I just didn't want to be me anymore."

"We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface doesn't really make anything any neater. It just masks what is below. It's only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are."

"Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together."

"Your past is always your past. Even if you forget it, it remembers you."

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