Readers' Favorite

January 24, 2018

Quintessential YA Reads : What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

by Kathleen Barker

As I continue my perusal of YA novels in order to induce my 13-year-old granddaughter to increase her reading, this month's suggestion is Sarah Dessen's What Happened to Goodbye.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

What Happened to Goodbye
April 2013; Speak; 978-0142423837
audio, ebook, print (432 pages); YA, family life
There seem to be several elements that contribute to the lure of a successful YA read:  teen angst, romance, and at least one quirky character.

Dessen's book gets two thumbs up from me as it tells the story of McLean Sweet, a high school senior whose home situation lacks what most of us consider as a home.  Her parents' divorce was a very public affair that resulted in her choosing to live with her father.  The only problem is her father's job: fixing or closing troubled restaurants.  Each assignment takes only a few months, which means McLean moves frequently.  She changes her first name with each move, trying on different lives, hoping for one that fits.  Her relationship with her mother is strained, as she blames her as the one who divorced her dad and - in McLean's eyes - destroyed her life.

When this father/daughter combo moves to the town of Lakeview to determine if the restaurant Luna Blu can be saved, McLean goes through the usual motions of starting at yet another new high school and making a few disposable friends.  She decides to use her real name this time, having blurted it out before taking time to think of another.  She also meets a boy - her neighbor - Dave.

As the friendships develop and her relationship with Dave warms, McLean begins to see the usual signs that signal the end of her father's job assignment and yet another move.  At the same time, her relationship with her now-remarried mom reaches a breaking point.  As the multiple stressors culminate, it looks like McLean's world is imploding.

Author Dessen's deft ability to weave a plausible resolution to multiple problems will satisfy young and not-so-young readers alike.  As in life, the resolution is not perfect, but it is realistic.

Buy What Happened to Goodbye at Amazon

Kathleen Barker was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Blessed Sacrament, the Institute of Notre Dame and Towson University, she spent twenty years as the much-traveled wife of a Navy pilot and has three children. While working for a Fortune 500 insurance company in New Orleans, she wrote feature and human interest articles for their magazine and received the Field Reporter of the Year award. After Hurricane Katrina, she returned to her beloved state of Maryland where she started work on "The Charm City Chronicles". All four volumes, "Ednor Scardens", "The Body War", "The Hurting Year", and "On Gabriel's Wings" are available in Amazon's Kindle store.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment