November 7, 2011

Book Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

At First Sight: McLean Sweet has moved four times in the last two years, following her restaurant consultant father and trying to avoid her mother, whom she blames for their family's break up.

In every town, McLean takes on a new personality and name - variations of her middle name Elizabeth - and becomes someone different from whom she was before. And now that they have landed in Lakeview - where her dad is sent to rescue a restaurant called Luna Blu - she has decided to become Liz Sweet, the details are a little hazy still, but that's the plan.

Until a series of circumstances make it impossible for her to take on this new persona, and she's stuck being McLean. Only that she isn't sure she knows whom that is anymore. She isn't Liz, or Beth, or Lizbet or Eliza, but she's not the McLean who used to live in Tyler, where her parents owned a restaurant, the McLean who had to see her Mom split and form a new family with a famous basketball coach, Peter Hamilton.

With her mother trying to pull her in close, and her dad busy with the restaurant, McLean soon finds herself involved with new friends - cheerful Deb, always full of surprises, Riley and Heather, and Dave Wade, her next door neighbor and a genius all around.. 

Second Glance: I think that, of Sarah Dessen's books,  What Happened to Goodbye is the hardest to summarize, mostly because it's long to explain what's going on, but oh well. 

At first I found it a little hard to get into this book, but once it hit it's stride it was quite addictive all the way to the end. I really liked McLean and her dad and the people she finds herself surrounded by - particularly Deb, she's my favorite; right at the beginning I didn't even like Riley and Heather. Dave Wade was a nice addition to the pantheon of Dessen Boys: he's smart and sweet and kind of socially awkward but not in an annoying way. 

All in all, it had all the things I've come to expect and love about Sarah's books, but I don't think this is my favorite -though I did enjoy it -mostly because I kind of found the secondary characters a lot more interesting than McLean and by extension Dave. I was more interested in Opal and McLean's Dad, in Jason the Prep Cook and former brainiac jerk (from The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride).

And I kind of wished the book was about Deb, she was by far my favorite character. 

Bottom Line: I consider Sarah Dessen as a guarantee of quality in YA, and What Happened to Goodbye delivers, even if it doesn't delivers with as much a punch as I would like. 

Favorite Scene:
"People can't resist a love triangle," Deb said.

"Is that what this is?" Dave asked. He was talking to her but looking right at me, and I felt my face flush.

"No." I said.

He shrugged, "Too bad. I've always wanted to be part of one of those."

"Oh, no you don't," Deb told him, shaking her head. "It's no picnic, let me tell you."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments produce endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. *giggle*

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.