Book Review : What happened to goodbye by Sarah Dessen

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.

My Review :

3 stars

Seriously, I consider myself a Sarah Dessen fan. I have read almost all of her books and enjoyed the majority of them – to various degrees. What Happened To Goodbye, however, was a huge disappointment for me. The beginning was great, the whole set-up, the restaurant setting, but then … the whole thing just fizzled out around page 100. And it’s a long way to go from page 100 to page 400. Frankly speaking, I just found the rest of the book incredibly boring. I’m finding it difficult to really tell you why, but to me, it was just lacking the usual charm and heart. Let me tell you, I don’t read Dessen’s books because they are particularly deep and yes, I know they all follow the same formula. I read them for fun. I read them because, in my opinion, not a lot of authors can capture this feeling of change and growth, combined with lovely summer vibes and a swoon-worthy guy as well as her.

But here, the things I normally love about Dessen’s books were strangely muted and didn’t really come across. Not that I didn’t like Mclean as a character – she just didn’t stand out in any particular way for me. And despite the fact that I love to ramble about Dessen’s guys (see later), the main character’s voice is what carries the book. And if I don’t really care about her, I don’t care about the book either. The next thing is the quirky group of new friends. Well, Mclean’s friends were fun in this typically quirky way, but still, nothing too special. And then, Dave was a big disappointment as the love interest. From his description, he sounded very interesting: a science genius wanting the real high school experience and therefore giving up on university classes and the like, but in execution, he was just a very flat and boring character. Call me superficial, but Dessen’s guys are often the best about her books. I loved Wes from The Truth about Forever, Eli from Along for the Ride, Owen from Just Listen and Dexter from This Lullaby, and basically, those are the books I would recommend first and that I would label lovely comfort reads. Sorry to say, but with books like this my rule is: no swooning = no fun.

All in all, if you are a Dessen fan like me, you will probably read this anyway and form your own opinion. If you are no Dessen fan, you probably don’t want to read this anyway ;). But if you haven’t read anything by her yet and are looking for a good book to start with, I wouldn’t recommend What Happened To Goodbye.

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