What Happened to Goodbye? A Teen Girl's Struggle with Family and Self

BlogHer Review

This is the first Sarah Dessen book I have ever read and I am so happy to have been introduced to this author through What Happened to Goodbye. It is wonderful summer reading that you won't want to put down.

My teenage daughter, Sarah, loves Sarah Dessen, and was also thrilled that I was going to read this book. Let me tell you about it without giving it away of course!

Mclean is the protagonist -- a 17 y/o girl whose parents went through a bitter divorce leaving her feeling rather bitter herself, and questioning her own identity. Her father, Gus, is a chef and used to own a restaurant when he was married to Mclean's mother, Katherine. Now, though, Gus travels around with his daughter, Mclean, turning restaurants that need help into great places to eat. With every move, Mclean has reinvented herself by putting a new spin on her name and pretending to be someone she isn't, all in an effort not to lay down roots anywhere, and not to get too attached to new friends.

I, personally, related to Mclean's mother, Katherine. She and Gus had married young and she found herself at home alone most of the time, raising her daughter. Avid basketball fans, Katherine meets the head coach of their favorite college basketball team and falls in love, which obviously leads to a bitter divorce from Mclean's father, Gus. Of course, Mclean is too young and bitter herself to truly understand her mother's motivations, but as you will find in this story, Mclean soon discovers that her mother is not the person she supposed her to be over the years that followed the divorce.

Her mother Katherine marries the coach and has twins, all the time trying to reconnect with her daughter, Mclean, and rebuild their lost relationship. Oh how she tries and tries for years to no avail. Mclean all the while just putting her off. It takes a misunderstanding and somewhat frightful experience for Mclean to realize that not all things are as they seem and that everything will ultimately turn out for the best after all.

I loved this story so much, I'm tempted to pick up where it leaves off and write the story that follows from the perspective of Mclean's mother, Katherine. Boy do I ever know that back story!!

This is definitely a "must read," and not just for the teenagers who love Sarah Dessen out there! I recommend this book to young women and mothers alike. You'll enjoy every page and it will leave you with a feel good feeling when you're done.

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