Sarah Dessen is my favorite author. I know I’m supposed to be an adult and all, but I can’t help but still love her books. I always find a piece of myself in each of her characters. They’re so relatable (which apparently isn’t a word), and Mclean in What Happened to Goodbye is no exception.
Unlike most of Sarah Dessen’s books, this isn’t a love story. I mean, there is a love story in there, but it’s not the central topic. I think that’s one of the reasons that this wasn’t my favorite by her. Don’t get me wrong, the book is still awesome/amazing/fantastic, but I think some of her other books were much better.
This book tells the story of Mclean who has been in an identity crisis for the past two years. Her parents got divorced (her mom cheats on her dad with the coach of his favorite basketball team. Ouch), so she decides to stay with her dad, who has a job that includes a lot of relocation. Every time Mclean moves to a new city, she decides who she wants to be. Her middle name is Elizabeth, so she’s been Eliza, Lizbet, Beth, etc. Each of these girls has a completely different personality from her own (and separate Ume.com pages). There’s the cheerleader and the drama girl and the president of everything. She becomes a new person every time she moves.
When she moves to Lakeview, she finds her given name, Mclean, thrusted upon her (she tried to be Liz, but it didn’t work out). She makes some interesting friends, namely Dave and Deb, who eventually unintentionally make her face the reasons behind her identity crisis.
In the midst of all of this, Mclean is having trouble forgiving her mom for breaking up their family. The book centers around her relationship with her mom and why Mclean feels the need to constantly alter her personality.
There reached a point in the book where I just couldn’t put it down. Probably when the tension between Mclean and Dave started up. What can I say? I love a good love story.
I think readers of Sarah Dessen books will find all of the elements of most of her books – a good love story, a main character they can relate to, and a thirst for a sequel (that will never come). Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I wanted more love, guys. I can’t help it.
Side note: I’m going to the Austin Teen Book Festival at the end of this month, and she’s going to be there. I’m SUPER PUMPED, and I catch myself getting giddy about it every time I think about it. I want her to sign ALL OF MY BOOKS, but I think that’ll be a bit excessive.
Are there any fellow Sarah Dessen fans out there? What have you read by her? Have you read What Happened to Goodbye?