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What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen

February 3, 2014

What Happened After her mother divorces her father and she decides to live with her dad, seventeen-year-old Mclean hardly talks to or visits her mom. Mclean and her dad move from one town to another for his job. With every move Mclean takes on a different personality, friend group, and name at each new school she attends. Until Lakeview, that is, where she makes friends who like the real her. Mclean realizes that she isn’t sure who that is anymore, or if she is ready to find it out.

I rated this book a 9 out of 10 because Dessen was able to make the reader part of the story. Reading the book, I felt like I was part of Mclean’s life—like I was meant to be there and live in the story with her. Although the book started off a little slow and took about 40-60 pages for me to really get into the plot (to the point where I didn’t want to stop reading), overall it is worth your time and won’t disappoint.

The themes were pretty obvious to me. Throughout the book I became clear on what they were: family, discovering yourself, and friendship. If you read this novel, I think that the themes will become clear to you early on, as well.

Teenage girls will definitely relate to Mclean; I know that I did. Everyone, at some point in their lives, wants to change something about themselves: whether it’s to be just a little smarter, to be slightly more attractive, to be a tad funnier. Nevertheless, you cannot escape who you really are, and the journey that Mclean goes on to finally realize this is one that you will go on with her.

There are so many great moments in this book, and the end comes together perfectly. If you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen or realistic fiction, then this is the book for you.


Viking Press, 402 pages

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