What Happened to Goodbye: Share it With the Teens in Your Life
High school. It can either be a great time or a miserable time of your life. Everyone seems to be finding their footing in life, and figuring out what kind of person they want to be. It’s a place where like-minded people tend to group together: the athletes/cheerleaders, the drama kids, the band kids, student council members, nerds, losers. Was there ever a time that you wished you could start over, and be a member of a different group?
In the book What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen, Mclean Sweet has just that opportunity. Many times, in fact. After her parents’ difficult divorce, she finds herself following her dad around the country as he works at rejuvenating different restaurants for the company he works for. With each move, she finds herself reinventing herself, complete with a different name. She’s Eliza, the “rah-rah” popular girl. She’s Lizbet, the drama girl. She’s Beth, the all-around joiner girl.
And then she finds herself in Lakeview, and for the first time, she feels like she just wants to be herself. She makes friends: Dave, the boy next door, Riley, Heather, and Deb, girls at school. All of a sudden, Mclean is trying to discover who she really is.
I think What Happened to Goodbye is a wonderful book! As a young adult novel, it’s a really easy read, something that I like during the summertime. It would be a perfect book to bring to the beach or the lake. It’s much more than an easy read, though. Sarah Dessen touches on the difficulty that every young teenager has—finding out where he/she belongs in the world. They all want to feel the same sense of belonging. But for Mclean, that sense of belonging is made so much more difficult because of the fact that she can never lay down roots.
I loved every single character in this book. Sarah Dessen does such a wonderful job of weaving them all together, showing how every unique personality adds to a group of people. It’s an important lesson that everyone needs to learn -- life is much richer when you embrace not only the similarities, but also the differences of the people that you love.
I encourage all of you to read What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen. And if you know a teenage girl, be sure to share it with her, too. You’ll both enjoy getting to know Mclean Sweet, her family, and her friends.