Since choosing to live with her father after her parents' bitter divorce, McLean has constantly been on the move. Her father's job as a restaurant consultant has them uprooting and starting over frequently. With each new move, she adopts a new form of her name and a new persona. No one is as surprised as McLean herself when their latest stop turns out to be one she is reluctant to leave, and where she may be able to be who she truly is.
What Happened to Goodbye—Book Review
What Happened to Goodbye is classic Sarah Dessen, proving once again that she just "gets" teenage girls. McLean is an endearing character, one who has been put through the wringer as a result of her parents' particularly unpleasant divorce. Her mother cheated with, got pregnant by, and left her father for not just another man, but for his hero. The strained mother/daughter relationship is central to the storyline and would make for rich discussion material. Much of this book revolves around a restaurant and the restaurant business, with lots of associated lingo. Finding a place to belong in an unlikely place, and finally connecting with people and forming some meaningful relationships change McLean and force her to finally confront some painful truths. A nice sense of camaraderie and teamwork evolve as a result of a community project and two different romantic relationships form as well. Very brief underage drinking takes place, and an arrest as a result of such is referenced. Language is mild (a-s, cr-p, sh-t, bullsh-t) and McLean has aptly named her car "Super Sh-tty." Children of divorced parents may find this compelling and heartwarming story a particularly relatable one. >Book review trailer from YouTube: