What Happened to Goodbye: A Story for Every Teenaged Girl

BlogHer Review

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen is a classic, fun coming-of-age story of a girl who really discovers that who she is exactly who she should be.

Mclean Sweet is struggling with finding herself after her parents’ messy divorce and the fall-out that results from it. A lot of the story is easily understood to anyone who survived high school. Much of Dessen’s story centers around Mclean finding out that pretending to be someone she isn’t is just too exhausting and complicated to keep up for any length of time. One of my favorite moments in the book is when, faced with the opportunity and chance to reinvent herself, she chooses, instead to simply say, “I’m Mclean.” It’s like she is being reborn.

Mclean’s friend Deb is by far my favorite character. She is quirky and smart, and I adore her. She is exactly who Mclean needs to sort of push her from her hiding spot out into the open.

One theme that I enjoyed throughout the story is the focus on what is “real” and what isn’t. Mclean slowly starts to see that “real” is when you’re loved, accepted and cared for. It reminded of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. Mclean, much like The Velveteen Rabbit finally discovers that to be real takes time, and acceptance.

I also really enjoyed the “real world” story line. No vampires grace this novel. While vampires are great and all, the fact that this could be any girl’s story makes it accessible and very readable. I think every teenaged girl should read it.

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