Author: Sarah Dessen
Pages: 402 Hardcover
Reading Level: YA
Published: May 10th 2011
Review Source: Penguin Young Readers Group
Available: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Borders
Summary: (from goodreads) 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.
Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
Mclean comes across as having the perfect life. She gets to move to a new town every few months and start over from scratch. She gets to be whoever she wants to be and not have to worry about forming attachments to anyone. Who wouldn't want a do-over every once in a while, right?
Things change when she starts to settle into Lake view, where she actually starts to use her real name, after a failed attempt at being "Liz" when meeting the manager of the restaurant her father has come to town to save. She makes some great friends from various groups and even finds a boy, even though she says she isn't looking for one.
I really enjoyed how Mclean grew up through the story. I was not happy with the storyline of her mother leaving her dad for a famous basketball coach, because it just made me sad. She doesn't have a great relationship with her mom, mostly because she blames her mother for her parent's marriage failing. As the story progresses, Mclean learns that there is more than one side to every story and she may just need to give her mother, and her mother's new family a second chance.
I liked the characters in this story, and how they came together to work on a project for the town. The friendships seemed genuine and the characters went through some ups and downs together.
And the best part: even though I cried, because there was a twist I should have expected, but didn't see coming...there is a happy ending (and I'm a sucker for a happy ending!)