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What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad have been on the move–four towns in two years. Each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is.

Sarah Dessen’s books were the first I happened upon the YA shelf when I started searching them a couple of years ago for something other than paranormal fiction.  “What Happened to Goodbye” is her latest book, and the second of hers that I’ve read.  She is not a Christian writer, but I find her books clean and respectable, though this one in particular had about three swear words.

I really enjoy Sarah’s style.  In “What Happened to Goodbye”, McLean is somewhat forced by circumstances to be herself for the first time in a couple of years.  She makes new and interesting friends, and has to deal with her feelings of resentment towards her mother regarding her parents breakup.  I like the heroines that Sarah creates.  Whilst being outsiders in their environment, they don’t let their uniqueness get them down.  Her focus is on the heroine dealing with and making peace with her family issues.  I’m sure these issues are something most teens can relate to.

What I love about Sarah’s writing is that she makes scene settings poignant and meaningful.  She ties it in with the character’s feelings.  It’s very clever and paints such a clear picture of the circumstances, irony and emotions that are truly lying under the surface.

I thoroughly enjoyed “What Happened to Goodbye”.  I loved McLean (though, not her name!) and her next door neighbour Dave is a cute, likeable nerd who is serving community service for a past demeanor.