Monday, May 16, 2011

A Year in Books: What Happened to Goodbye

One thing, however, was clear: there was no escaping Mclean now. I was her, I was here, and it looked like we'd be sticking around. Nothing left to do but bail, and rise.

Sarah Dessen’s first book in two years, WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, follows a girl who creates a new persona in each town she and her father move to. Mclean has been the popular cheerleader, drama diva, and all-around joiner, complete with different names. But when she comes to Lakeview, she doesn’t have a chance to establish her newest self; instead of the clear cut roles of her past, she attempts to discover the real her, messy emotions included. Once she meets Dave, the self-proclaimed “weird kid” next door, she finds herself rethinking her cut and run attitude.

In the past, whenever her dad is transferred to a new city—he resuscitates dying restaurants, changing menus and d├ęcor in hopes of making them successes—Mclean cuts herself off from the friends she’d made, not even bothering to say goodbye. But what happens when her time in Lakeview is up? She knows it’s inevitable; Luna Bleu, the poorly staffed train wreck of a restaurant her dad is trying to save, is going under. Will she be able to leave as easily as she did when she was Eliza or Lizbet or Beth in those other towns? Or will this role—herself—be too much to leave behind?

In true Dessen style, Sarah weaves thought-provoking tidbits into the story of an average girl dealing with normal problems: divorced parents, adjusting to a new town, a clingy mother. Mclean struggles to discover who she really is, something that any high school girl can relate to.

As a longtime fan of Sarah’s novels, WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE did not disappoint me. A relatable heroine, entertaining conversations and restaurant-speak, and a boy so loveable that girls will start searching the world for him. You don’t want to miss this one.  

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