What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Cover via Goodreads

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

What Happened to Goodbye is another hit from the queen of young-adult realistic fiction, Sarah Dessen. As with all of her books, readers can expect a moving story filled with cleverly drawn characters and the perfect touch of romance.

In her tenth novel, Dessen details the story of Mclean Sweet – also known as Liz Sweet, Beth Sweet, etc. After her parents’ divorce she travels from town to town with her dad, assuming a new identity each time. Things are different at Lakeview, though. Mclean may just try to be herself, if she can find who that is before it’s too late.

People consistently comment on Dessen’s formulaic writing style. I have to disagree – this talented lady could write a book about a girl who reads instruction manuals and watches paint dry for a living. Her writing is that good. It sucks you in and forces you to flip the pages until you’ve read the whole novel. Not only is it addicting, but it’s neat and welcoming, like a gift that you can’t help but come back to every now and then.

With every book I’ve read by Sarah Dessen there are certain details and quirks that I adore. The characters’ names, like Opal and Riley. The model community town that brings individuals from the story together. I even enjoyed the basketball references, which clearly says something.

And lastly, Deb! She was such a cute little ray of sunshine (or in some cases, a frenetic tornado of neatness). I hope she makes a cameo appearance in a future work by Dessen. Characters from her past novels appeared in What Happened to Goodbye, but I won’t spoil who they are. Let’s just say, one of them has changed a lot.

Not my favorite from Sarah Dessen, but a darn good read. The Truth About Forever and Just Listen remain as the two books I would recommend right away to a newcomer of her novels, but What Happened to Goodbye offers a solid story that shouldn’t be missed by Dessen fans.



Filed under 4.5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

2 responses to “What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

  1. Meth Randall

    SARAH DESSEN IS MY ONE AND ONLY WRITING IDOL. I swear. I got Lock and Key as my first Sarah Dessen book and it was so good. Got this book too. The wayDessen creates the climax and build a stack of stairs carefully leading you up the stairs is just so good. It’s like a powerful bomb! Plus I found McLean’s situation and emotions authentic, especially when interlaced with memories of her Mom like the Cream Ofs and Poseidon… every little detail was just delicious. Too bad I still am having trouble in collecting Just Listen and The Truth About Forever because I’m dying to read them!

    • Yes, Sarah Dessen is so fabulous and I love your analogy with the stairs! Her attention to detail and characterization is superb – it’s subtle, but so so powerful, especially when the climax occurs. Glad you’re going through her books and I hope you find a copy of Just Listen and The Truth About Forever soon; they’re so wonderful.

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