Published: May 10th, 2010
by: Speak/Viking Children’s
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
What Happened To Goodbye isn’t what I expected. And while I enjoyed the book as a whole, I can’t say that I actually love it. I wanted to love it. That still hasn’t stopped me from wanting more Dessen, though. I know there will be some that I will just not like at all, so I’m just gonna keep reading and hope for the best. The writing and setting are great; no argument there. I just feel like this one didn’t give me all the feels that I wanted.
Mclean has been on the move with her dad since her parents very public divorce. Her mom up and left him for the new basketball coach. A coach that happens to land a job at both her parents alma mater. What’s even more humiliating is the fact that Mclean’s mom was already pregnant by the time it became apparent that anything was going on. So, of course, Mclean is #TeamDad. He gets custody of her, and she visits her mom on occasions. Her dad is a traveling restaurant consultant, that goes from city to city, so Mclean hasn’t really stayed in place for more than six months at a time, since the divorce. And in her need to not make friends, she reinvents herself at each school she attends. Except this last place, Lakeview. Here, she actually becomes friends with an interesting set of characters.
So my first impression of Mclean was that she seems to be having some sort of identity crisis. I mean, this girl creates new alter egos wherever she goes. But then the flashbacks to happier times lets me see how really messed up she is about the divorce. And boy does she have it out for her mother. She blames her for how her life is now. Her mother is living it up with the hotshot coach and her new kids, twins. To not make mom sound like an evil person, she does try to stay in touch with Mclean and spend time with her. Mclean just brushes her off time and time again. I kind of felt bad for the woman. Mclean also has new friends that she hangs out with, but the most interesting would have to be Dave and Deb. Dave is the smart guy who wanted to ditch his private school for the real world. He wants to enjoy normal high school experiences. Deb is THE most outgoing person. She is truly nice but everyone in the school ignores her and talks about her behind her back. Mclean’s arrival changes everything. She’s the one who invites Deb to sit with the crew at lunch. And guess what? There’s more to Deb than what they thought. I loved how the story flowed when they were all together.
What I didn’t like was how Mclean treated her mom. If she had talked it out with both her parents, instead of hiding her pain of the divorce, she probably would have given her mom a fair chance. It took Dave to push some wisdom her way; which she didn’t want to hear because of her anger. I also think that her dad should have insisted she stay with her mom from the get go. No way would I like my daughter moving from place to place, during her senior year in high school – or ever. Mclean had no stability. And she was so freaking lost, no matter what name she used. Also, this story felt more like her dad’s. What, with his restaurant drama and woman problems. I felt so bad for poor Opal at one point.
This is not a bad book, I just didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would. I’m sure Dessen fans have already read this, but I think if you enjoy realistic YA and social issue themes, this book would be a perfect fit. I’m glad that I read it, but it won’t be one that I’ll revisit.