Sarah Dessen Delivers Authenticity with a Side of Symbolism

BlogHer Review
I'm a huge Sarah DessenWhat Happened to Goodbye for the BlogHer Book Club, I was ecstatic!

Yes, she's a teen author. Yes, her stories generally have happy endings. But, as an adult, I love reading her books because her characters are authentic, facing real world issues and feelings with which we've all had some experience. And, that's why I think her books are so popular... because they're relatable. We've all been through some version of what her characters experience, whether it's a rough home life or traumatic event, failed relationships or lack of confidence. Authentic stories, authentic feelings.

My favorite part about Sarah Dessen's writing is her use of symbolism. She does this in every book in a different way, and in this novel, there is a lot of symbolism focused on the main character, Mclean, and how she chooses a different name and a different role to play at each new school she attends. Mclean is running from her past "normal" life and running from the feelings she needs to confront in order to move on to a healthy new life.

Also, symbolic... Mclean's father and his profession. He spends all his time moving around and fixing restaurants that are falling apart...but yet can't seem to fix what's wrong with his family and his life.

There's also irony... Mclean working on the town centennial project, making a replica of the town by model, a town she had no ties to until recently... and that the sport she and her father once bonded over led to the betrayal that they ran from.

Sarah Dessen's stories always have some romance and friendship, and they show readers what healthy and non-healthy relationships are made up of. They're touching and real... and not always easy.

This book was a good read, and if you enjoyed it, you should try some of my other favorites written by her: Along for the Ride and The Truth about Forever.

Where to Buy What Happened to Goodbye

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