Goodreads Rating: 3.99
My Rating: 4 Stars
I always loved Sarah Dessen books, I read so many of them when I was in high school. It's been a while since I've gotten to read one, so when this came through my library, I was excited. I will admit, I set my standards super low for this book because most of her books follow the same equation when it comes to characters and what happens, but why it works is because Dessen is a good writer.
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.
Combing Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
My review is hiding behind the jump!
Right off the bat, I had a huge issue with this book. As someone that played sports for most of my life and basketball for several of those years, I consider myself knowledgeable about the terms associated with the sport. Since one of the major elements of this book was basketball, I assumed Dessen would have done her research as far as terms. In the book, she kept referring to a basketball hoop as a goal. I'm not sure if other places refer to it as that, and please correct me if other places do call it that, but that majorly got under my skin.
I did like this book, and its hard for me to explain why. I loved the concept behind Eat Inc, the company that Mclean's dad worked for, taking failing restaurants, buying them, and then sending someone in to make them successful and then selling them to someone else. I thought that was clever and a lot of fun and I loved Mclean's dad because no matter what he loved her.
The group of friends that Mclean found were the type of friends that everyone wishes they could find - a clan of friends that seem to be accepting even if they know nothing about you. I loved how Mclean was even able to bring them closer together and bring Deb, the way too perky other new girl, into the group. Dave, the somewhat socially awkward genius was my favorite though since he really made Mclean think about her mothers side of the divorce.
As far as her parents go, I think they were both dumb and a little selfish- her dad for not noticing that she seemed to change with each new city (not just her name but who she hung out with and what types of clothes she wore.), and her mother for not thinking that being the reason who world crumbled would cause her daughter to pull away. While the book doesn't go into the marriage imploding, it seems to hint that her father was too caught up in their restaurant to be with them a lot, and so her mom strayed and then got pregnant with her husband's idol's child. Harsh. Regardless, it was her actions that broke the camel's back.
Yes, that was a little confusing- Sorry. So my favorite part of the story was when they were building the diorama of the town and Dave asked her to stay for him. Which was totally sweet, like, more guys need grad gestures like what he did. I'm not sure if this book constitutes good writing (I'm not a good judge of that) but the characters felt real and the story was a fun one. There were several times that I laughed out loud and fell in love with Sarah Dessen's books all over again.