Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Rewind- What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

I'm bringing back Friday Rewind (periodically anyway).  Friday Rewind is my version of Before the Blog, which was a feature on YA Lit Wit (which is a blog that is not currently active).  The whole idea is that we've all been reading a lot longer than we've been blogging, so why not pull out one of those old books and feature it?? It's a way to rediscover books from my past anyway. 

What Happened to Goodbye
By: Sarah Dessen

  • Why did you choose this book?  I chose this book because I'm thinking about FINALLY reading The Moon and More really really soon.  So I thought it would be nice to revisit the last Sarah Dessen book that I read.
  • When did you read this book?  July 2011
  • Who would you recommend this book to?  Fans of Sarah Dessen, Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Scott, or Deb Caletti, and of course Contemporary-Lovers.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

So basically Mclean's dad is like a Gordon Ramsay in Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.  He just doesn't say the F-Word as much.  They are constantly moving from town to town so he can help fix failing restaurants, and Mclean takes a different name and persona in each place.  Oh yeah and she doesn't bother saying goodbye to the friends that she's made, she just bounces.  At this latest stop she's planning on being "Liz", but she slips up and winds up being herself.  She makes friends with her genius neighbor Dave, the school welcome girl Deb, Riley, Heather, and Ellis.  She also tries to work things out with her mom even though she's holding on to a lot of resentment.

This was not my favorite Sarah Dessen book.  It started out strong and I was really excited by it, but then it just got kind of blah from there.  The romance in this book was clearly not on par for what I am used to with Sarah Dessen books.  I mean Mclean clearly liked Dave for most of the book, but they felt like they were too far in the friend-zone for anything to happen with them.  A lot of the story revolved around this crew of teens building a model of the town and it got boring after a while.  I get that that was like symbolizing Mclean finally building a life somewhere, but it dominated the story too much for me... and frankly wasn't that interesting.  Also the- I hate my mom, but you know I'm going to forgive her -thing got old.  I hate to say this, but I kind of couldn't wait for the book to end because it dragged and dragged.

I did like the restaurant scenes and the characters involved with the restaurant.  I also really like Deb, though I thought she kind of got the shaft and wasn't strong enough to stand up for herself.  The writing was typical SD, and that is what saved the book from being a DNF for me.  I guess the problem with this book is that there wasn't any big MOMENT like there is in her previous books.  Yeah Mclean's family is screwed up and her mom did a terrible thing, yeah everyone finds out how she lied about who she was in all those towns, but neither of those things had a big impact or made Mclean have her coming-of-age moment or whatever.  It all just bored me a little.  And that totally disappoints me because I love Sarah Dessen.  Love her on Twitter, went to a book signing and loved her, and loved loved loved Just Listen and Lock & Key and This Lullaby.  I'd say read those books instead of this one (especially for SD first timers!!  I don't want you to get the wrong Dessen impression!!)

OVERALL:  It was okay.  I didn't like the main character that much and the romance was firmly in the friend-zone, so not very swoon-worthy.  If you've never read a Sarah Dessen book, DO NOT start with this one.  She has so many other amazing books that are not boring like this one turned out to be!


  1. I actually quite liked this book. I read it while we were on vacation in Wisconsin Dells. We had a lot of time for reading on this vacation because we would get back from the water parks early. I found it quite entertaining. I do agree not her best novel, but I think it was pretty good.

    1. I guess I just had high expectations because I love some of her other books so hard! But I can see people liking this book a lot. It is well written and has some interesting characters in it,