Mar 4, 2015

Discovering your identity || What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title:What happened to Goodbye
Author:Sarah Dessen
Publisher:Viking Juvenile
Release Date:May 10th 2011
Who is the real McLean? 

Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And 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. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out. 

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

No one can master the art of writing coming of age books than Sarah Dessen.She is a pro when it comes to YA contemporary coming of age fiction.I've been a fan of hers for years,and her books never cease to be amazing.And What happened to Goodbye is not an exception,as it's a beautiful and great coming of age novel with Sarah Dessen's trademarks concepts such as family,friendships,romance,self realizations and a bunch of quotes that inspire you a lot.

What Happened to Goodbye is the story of McLean,who with her father often moves in to different towns and houses.They are constantly on the move,and Mclean has the habit changing her identity in every place she moves in.She is a whole new person in each town,with a different name and different personality.But something in Lakeview-the latest place they've settled in-makes her stay real and be herself-which ironically is the hardest thing to be.

I think I can safely say that McLean is one of the greatest heroines of Sarah Dessen,and probably even the best.All Dessen heroines have baggage,but McLean deals with them in a way that no one else does.While all the other girls take a lot of time to face their issues in life,McLean doesn't hesitate.

I found that I could relate to her a lot.All of us have gone through an identity crisis somewhere in life,where we wanted to be like others.Where we felt too weird to be ourselves,and constantly tried to be a better and more normal person.So McLean's trouble with her identity is something that any reader can relate to.

“All those clean, fresh starts had made me forget what it was like, until now, to be messy and honest and out of control. To be real.” 

McLean has family issues.Her mother has an extramarital affair and her parents' marriage end up in a divorce,resulting in her and her father's frequent travels from place to place.Her father was such a sweet and caring guy and his relationship with McLean is adorable.Whereas,McLean's relationship with her mother is obviously strained.Sarah Dessen wins again by a realistic and quite emotional portrayal of family,which is a trademark of her books.
“But in the real world, you couldn't really just split a family down the middle, mom on one side, dad the other, with the child equally divided between. It was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two: no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right again. It was what you couldn't see, those tiniest of pieces, that were lost in the severing, and their absence kept everything from being complete.” 
Another thing you can always expect in a Sarah Dessen novel is beautiful friendships.In this book,McLean makes some amazing friends.Heather and Riley were great characters,along with Deb-a social outcast McLean decides to take under her wing.
“Two a.m.' He swallowed, then said, "You know. The person you can call at two a.m. and, no matter what, you can count on them. Even if they're asleep or it's cold or you need to be bailed out of jail...they'll come for you. It's like, the highest level of friendship.” 
And the romance was pretty sweet.Dave was a cute love interest,and plays a huge part in McLean's self discovery.I loved the fact that he was a genius-who doesn't love a cute geek guy?;)-and that he was patient with McLean.It's just so unfair that only YA heroines tend to get guys like him as their neighbours:)
“You want to take me to a movie?" I asked."Well, not really," he said. "What I really want is for you to be my girlfriend. But I thought saying that might scare you off.” 

And the most beautiful things about this book is that it teaches you quite a lot of things.Sarah Dessen's novels are always great inspirations and we often get the chance to discover ourselves and life along with the heroine.And I experienced that again with What Happened to Goodbye.
“Outside, the ocean was crashing, waves hitting sand, then pulling back to sea. I thought of everything being washed away, again and again. We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn't really make anything neater. It just masks what is below. It's only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.” 

I'll recommend What Happened to Goodbye to any Sarah Dessen fan,along with any reader who loves coming of age fiction and slow paced books about self discovery.

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