Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Book: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

Thanks to her dad's job, Mclean Sweet has lived in four towns in two years, and in each town she's reinvented herself, even down to her name--always a version of her middle name, Elizabeth. School spirit girl, drama queen, prepster. It's easier that way. She can be a type, not a real person, and when she has to leave, she's not leaving friends, only acquaintances.

But the newest town, Lakeview, is defeating all her attempts to hold it at a distance. Although she had a name and an identity all picked out, everyone somehow meets Mclean instead. Now comes the real question . . . can she let anybody get close enough to discover all her flaws? And what will she do when it comes time to leave again?

Sarah Dessen is one of those dependable authors. You pretty much know that you're getting a book about a girl wrestling with her identity and with her choices, and very often with her parents. There will be a varied (though Dessen usually stops short of full-on-wacky) group of friends, a lively and character-filled workplace, and a smart, cute boy, all of which prompt and aid her development. In this one, there was a theme of the difficulty of loving somebody in a way that could encompass their mistakes, but that was strongest in the scenes between Mclean and her mother.

Although it hit all the usual marks, I feel like this book never really came together for me. The different threads somehow didn't mesh.  Maybe it's because I never felt as if I got to know anybody except Mclean and maybe her mom. Everybody else, like Mclean's former identities, was a type. It's all right, but I wouldn't call it this author's best.

1 comment:

Books Ahoy said...

I love her books! Great review :)

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