Sunday, May 29, 2011
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Mclean is in her last year of high school but maybe not her last high school. Since her parent’s divorce there she has moved around a lot. With every move comes a new high school, new friends, and a new Mclean. Not wanting to be herself anymore, Mclean assumes a new identity with every move. She changes her name, her dress, her interests, her friend choices, and her prolife on Ume.com. Then she gets to Lakeview and things are different. Her real self is peeking out and Dave, her handsome neighbor, seems to have something to do with that. She’s putting down some roots, if not dishes for the kitchen. When her Dad decides it’s time to move again, will Mclean be ready to pull up the roots and go with him? Or will she acquiesce to her mother and return “home” to her? What about her friends in Lakeview?
4 stars – A great book
What happened to goodbye is a sweet new book by Sarah Dessen that explores the consequences to a teenager when her parents go through a sudden and public divorce. Mclean isn’t interesting in staying around with her mom and dealing with the new husband and twin babies. Her mother has changed from the very close friend she once was to the very sophisticated wife of a public figure. If her mom can quit being who she was, then so can Mclean at least that what she believes. To that end, Mclean changes what people call her, what cliques she fits into, her interests and friend choices as she follows her Dad around saving restaurants. With each restaurant success or failure comes a new town. Never laying down roots means never getting hurt when it’s time to move again. Her Dad is playing a similar game as he tries to get over the hurt his ex-wife caused for him as he never gets serious with his new girlfriends until they are about to leave again. This strategy works well until Mclean and her Dad land in Lakeview.
Mclean meets Dave, super smart cute guy next door. Dave has over-protective parents who want him safely back in the private school he was attending. But the college level classes and nerd friends wasn’t what Dave wanted for his senior year. As he branches out a little, though, his parents get even more upset and his small acts of rebellion lead to his grounding extreme.
The other friends that Mclean meets are all a little odd but she seems to like them that way. Deb is the super organized friendless type. Heather is the “I’m so cool” party type. Riley is the “I can only fall for the wrong guy” type. Ellis is Dave’s good friend and the right choice for Riley, though she can’t see it. Then there is the whole crew at Luna Blus, the current restaurant under repair by Mclean’s Dad.
The story is Mclean’s process of dealing with the life choices of her parents and herself. It’s a great family relationship story. I would have loved to see more development of the relationship between Dave and Mclean. Dave does have a big impact on Mclean but we don’t really see it so much as she feels it. Of course, it’s up to Sarah’s normal quality and I really enjoyed the book. I just wish there had been more scenes with Mclean and Dave.