What Happened to Goodbye is Not Just for Young Adults

BlogHer Review

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen was a surprisingly enjoyable summer read that I just couldn’t put down. It may be labeled as a young adult novel, but any woman who has struggled with discovering who she really is can relate to the book’s main character, Mclean.

Mclean is a high school senior who moves to new locations approximately every six months with her father due to her parent’s recent divorce. While this lifestyle may be difficult for most, Mclean sees each move as an opportunity to reinvent herself, from the popular girl to the drama queen to the overachiever. Her newest move, however, leaves her stuck as regular old Mclean, whoever that may be.

Dessen’s writing brings out a number of emotions. There were many times I found myself chuckling along with the characters, getting goosebumps as Mclean discovered new love, and finding myself misty-eyed while she struggled with her relationship with her mother. I also found her descriptions of restaurant life delightful. She was dead-on with her portrayal of the different personalities and drama that environment often brings.

Perhaps the best thing about this novel is the honest look Dessen takes at life after divorce. With so many young adults struggling with the choices divorce often faces them to make, it was good to see a character to which they can relate. Despite this heavy underlying theme, however, the book was delightfully entertaining and would be a joy for readers of any age.

This is the kind of book I would be happy to recommend to any woman, young or old. The light prose makes What Happened to Goodbye easy to pick up and read, but the real characters and optimism are what make it so difficult to put down. It would be a fine addition to any summer reading list.

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