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.
Combining Sarah Dessen’s trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading. – Goodreads
The more I read Sarah Dessen the more her books run together. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I just believe that I would have enjoyed these more if I would have spread them out a bit more. Of course, I regret nothing.
What Happened to Goodbye is the story of McLean, a girl who is constantly moving and constantly making her life over every time her and her father move. Her father and her mother divorced after her mother slept with the local basketball coach and ended up pregnant. McLean feels that she no longer fits in with her mother, and her mother’s new family and she is happy to move around with her father. Create her new self.
She hates being not part of her mothers family, but it hurts too much to act like nothing has changed. Her mother tries, she tries to reach out but McLean needs a break. She wants to be her own person, who’s mother did not break her heart. McLean also hates the fact that her mother is constantly trying to control her. She wants a break from that also. From McLean’s point of view, her mother wants everything to be the way it was, and it will never be like that again. McLean is too upset about the situation. Her heart hurts too much.
Something has changed this move though, McLean did not change her name this round. She stays McLean, she doesn’t create a new persona and she’s slightly confused and shocked by this. Her father is equally shocked by this, she is finally fine being..herself. What she doesn’t expect is how much this small down changes her. The people, the place, and herself, go through some growing. My heart went out to McLean throughout this novel. She’s bitter at her mother, but she also misses her mother and what was their life together. I understood, because while my parents are happily married, we didn’t always get along for part of my life and while I miss what was, I actually enjoy our current relationship far more than our previous relationship. McLean tried to make the best of a bad situation, but for her that was easier said than done.
While her mother is trying and trying, McLean is very much a brick wall towards her mother. She is trying to form other relationships and friendships, including her next door neighbor Dave. Who is a brainiac that should be in college, but is trying to be as normal as possible. This book was very organic to me, nothing that Dessen wrote seemed forced. McLean just wants her mother to state that her mother messed up her life.
But through a cast of characters, including probably my new favorite Deb, Dessen created a solid novel that made me from feeling ambivalent about this novel to wanting more.