What Happened to Goodbye: A Lost Little Girl in an Adult Role
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen follows Mclean Sweet and her dad Gus, who have moved a total of four times since the divorce. Each time, Mclean has the opportunity to reinvent herself into someone new; first Eliza, then Lizbet, then Beth. She was planning to be Liz in her latest town, but things didn't quite work out as planned.
Mclean is just a lost little girl that has had to take on an adult role as her dad's career keeps him extremely busy. On the cover we see a girl standing on a suitcase, which is very fitting for this book. She's learned to not attach herself to any one place as they move around a lot, she never expect to be anywhere for long. Sarah truly drives this point home when she focuses on the kitchen in the Sweet home and how empty it is.
Mclean's strained relationship with her mother after the divorce has only been made worse by her and her dad's constant moves and her blatant avoidance of her mom at all costs. Sarah really did a good job of letting us inside of Mclean's thoughts as she struggles to figure out what type of relationship she wanted to have with her mom.
To me, the book kind of started out slow as we watch Mclean try to fit in, once again, in her new town. You do, though, find yourself wanting to get through the fluff to figure out what will happen with her. Some of it was a bit predictable, for example I knew that her dad Gus would end up dating the councilwoman, though I wasn't sure how serious it would become. I also knew that Opal would start crushing on Gus, but I wasn't sure if she was his type. The book really starts to pick up in the middle and the characters become really funny, especially the teens -- Riley, Heather, Deb and Dave.
I love the typical teenage, high school dynamics -- cliques and all. I love the beat up cars the kids drive I love the small town feel. You can truly imagine the streets, the bakery and Luna Blue as Sarah uses amazing imagery. Each teen has their own personal story at home, which we get a small peek into, to truly understand why each character is the way they are.
This book was great and I am definitely now a fan of Sarah Dessen.