Sarah Dessen is young adult author royalty with numerous awards and a best-selling streak. She is known for creating authentic characters in various family predicaments and on journeys of self-discovery. What Happened to Goodbye follows this formula while managing to be fresh and moving.
Dessen’s newest teen protagonist, Mclean, is ready to start over yet again. After her parents’ messy divorce, she chose to live with her father who has a consulting job for failing restaurants. For two years, she’s moved every few months, becoming a new person in every new town. When she arrives in Lakeview (a familiar town for Dessen fans), she must decide who she wants to be and how she’s going to handle her estranged mother.
New narrator Meredith Hagner, a former soap opera star, performs the book like a conversation and nails the dialogue with convincing teen inflections and fast pace. While Hagner’s rapid fire dialogue works well, her fast performance of the expository narration makes it hard to follow and enjoy Dessen’s sharp writing. In the latter half of the novel, she settles into a better rhythm and gives a strong performance.
Sarah Dessen consistently captures the angst of high school and family dynamics. Usually there’s a romance angle, and What Happens to Goodbye has Mclean dancing around a perceptive and smart boy next door, Dave Wade. Some Dessen devotees might be disappointed that there’s less of a love story in this book than some of her previous novels. There is more emphasis on other secondary characters though, an interesting assortment of teens with their own challenges.
What Happened to Goodbye is a great choice for female young adult readers, both avid and reluctant. It’s an engaging and satisfying listen, perfect for road trips and book groups. Meredith Hagner has a promising start as a narrator and Dessen adds to her excellent body of work. Julie MacDonald
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 her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out. Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
©2011 Sarah Dessen (P)2011 Penguin Audio
I really enjoyed listening to 'What Happened to Goodbye' by Sarah Dessen. It's the type of of story I'm always on the hunt for. It really expresses a lot of what every teenage girl goes through! A young girl who is trying to find her place in the world. I recommended this book to all my friends and I hope they read it because they will be seriously missing out!
And Meredith Hagner is a pretty good narrator, she just needs to put more personality into her characters. Give them more life! And if she decides to narrate another book, I will most definitely consider buying the audio; if the story line is good, of course!
I love all of Sarah Dessen's books, but this one is probably my least favorite. I couldn't connect with the characters like I do with the others. Wished more had happened with McLean and Dave. I loved how Heidi and Isbee surfaced at Colby from the "Along for the Ride" novel... and also the "Last Chance" and "Clementines". Overall, I enjoyed it.... can't wait to read my next Sarah Dessen!
great book I have read several of Sarah Dessen books and this was was a keeper. It did not disappoint and was very good.
It is about a girl whose family went through a public divorce. - She moves around with her dad and at each place she changes her name and her personality. But this time she is herself.
Read it -- it is worth a credit
I like to read VERY much .. I'm obsessed with reading I don't have time to actually read a book so I've been a listener for three years now
I really Love Sarah Dessen and this book was so good , but the final chapters of it were a little bit annoying to me , I felt that the story isn't going anywhere and I just wanted to finish it at the end , but I really liked the characters especially mcklean :)
No matter how hard I try I cannot get enough Sarah Dessen! Each and every single one of her characters feel real. Each and every book has touched my heart.
Mclean is probably one of my favorite characters though. She is a girl whose parents are divorced, and she is living with her traveling father, staying in each city, and school, just a few months at a time. Each time they land somewhere new she changes her name and reinvents herself. I love the idea of the 'fresh start' she does with each move.
I'm a big Sarah Dessen fan, but this might be my favorite yet. The narrator is perfect, really brings the characters to life AND has good comic timing! Highly recommended if you're looking for a good YA novel with great characters.
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