What Happened to Goodbye Reminded Me Why I'm A Dessen Fan!
It’s perhaps a bit hard to be objective about a Sarah Dessen book because she is one of my top five favorite authors. I have read all ten of her books (several of them multiple times) and recommend them far and wide. I see Sarah Dessen’s books as some of the best examples about what I love about Young Adult literature.
Frankly, What Happened to Goodbye is not my absolute favorite of her books, although it’s certainly not my least favorite -- I’d say it’s smack in the middle. (For the record, The Truth about Forever is my very favorite of her books).
What made me fall in love with Sarah Dessen’s books in the first place is how accurately she portrays human emotions. In The Truth about Forever, the main girl, Macy, has lost her father suddenly and is dealing with his death in the best way she knows how (which, like most of us, isn’t very well at all). Having lost younger brother to cancer when I was in high school, I identified all too well with Macy. I was astounded by how accurately Dessen depicted someone dealing with the death of a beloved family member.
What Happened to Goodbye is full of the same feelings: deep, resonant, and profoundly human. Her characters are so richly drawn, so full of life. Mclean is real and relatable, so completely fleshed out. The writing and development that made me a Dessen fan is in this new book in spades.
As an adult that reads a lot of YA literature, I feel badly for people who write off the entire genre as beneath them and not worth their time. Of course there is poorly written garbage -- what genre doesn’t have its bad apples? But there is so much that is wonderful and inspiring and funny and witty and surprising too.
YA literature is not a guilty pleasure or only for people who can’t read “real” books. It is literature for anyone who is looking to be absorbed by a book, by a story, by a character.
Sarah Dessen reminds me again and again why I keep returning to the YA shelves.