What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Published: May 10th, 2011 (Speak)
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Who is the real McLean?
Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.
The latest arrival in my Sarah Dessen collection looked very promising. I'm starting to get used to the new covers, and this one is quite pretty, if I'm honest. However, I didn't like the inside as much as I was expecting.
McLean is a difficult character to relate to. She has moved around a lot, trying to start over every single time, and she has had to deal with a difficult family situation on top of that, so I guess that is what made her a bit distant. Because that was what she was. I couldn't relate to her, she felt so far away. While I can understand this being part of her situation, which made her into the McLean we see in this book, I never had this problem with any other Sarah Dessen protagonist before. And I don't like it.
The first 125 pages or so were very difficult to get into. Honestly, I was on the verge of putting the book away and DNF'ing it, but somehow I managed to push through and read it. After the first third of the book, the story picked up a bit, but it still didn't blow my mind. The storyline was predictable and that bothered me.
I think my main problem is that I've read so many Sarah Dessen books I loved, that one I don't love immediately feels like a disappointment. I know I'm not supposed to compare this book to her other novels, but I can't help myself. I really feel like she can write a better story than this one.
While that all sounds really negative, I actually enjoyed myself while I was reading this book. In terms of the other books, it feels a bit off because I didn't love it, but it won't keep me from reading any more SD books. I just hope she won't bring me any more characters like McLean, because I didn't like her so much.. But I'm sure other contemporary fans will enjoy this book :)