Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Whatever Happened to Goodbye

"After a scandal involving her mother and a famous college basketball coach rocked her family and her old hometown, McClean decided to live with her dad. His job as a restaurant consultant requires they pick up often, and at each new place she carefully selects who she’ll be—Eliza, Beth, or someone else with a new name and different interests. It’s easier this way for McClean, who is reluctant to form any true attachments. Then at their latest stop, McClean does something she’s not done in a long while—reveal her real name. But who is this McClean and is she ready to forgive her mother, fall for the boy next door, and finally stick around? Fans of author Sarah Dessen will recognize her compelling dialog and characters so intricately-drawn it’s as if they’re the reader’s friends, too. Yet the real meat of What Happened to Goodbye is in Dessen’s mastery of the emotional ups-and-downs of McClean’s supportive relationship with her father and struggles with her mother. Keenly-observed and terrifically-written, Dessen’s latest is a delightful read about self-discovery and maturity that by the end is hard to say goodbye to."


Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release date: May 10, 2011
Page count: 402
Will appeal to: Obsessed Sarah Dessen fans, people who've worked in or are interested in the restaurant business

Favorite Quote:

"In her real life, she wore rain boots, had dirt under her nails, and squelched around in the garden in the mud, picking aphids off the tomato plants one by one. Now, though, my mom looked exactly like Katherine Hamilton, high-profile coach's wife. She wore her hair long and layered, got blonde highlights every other month, and sported TV-ready outfits that were selected by a personal shopper at Esther Prine, the upscale department store."

I bought this on my Kindle and planned to read it on our NC beach vacation. I finished it on the plane home.

Not one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books, and I'm a huge fan. I bought it pretty much as soon as it came out. I didn't find a whole lot of imagery that I liked enough to mark.

First of all, throughout the entire book I read McClean's name literally, but in a Sarah Dessen interview, she pronounces it Mc-Clane. I like that much better. She's a fan of basketball (in denial because she might hurt her dad by talking about it after her parents' divorce-- her mother did marry his favorite college coach). I liked that it touched on her different personalities. As a military brat, we have the freedom to do that to, so I related.

I also used to work in a Pizza Hut and liked some of the descriptions of the restaurant. I could relate to the lazy and various personalitied staff.

McClean's love interest Dave is an okay character. He didn't stand out for me like Will in The Truth About Forever. I imagine it gets hard to keep recreating new boys as love interests, and she's written so many books. I liked their conversations during the building of the town model.

It makes the reader question: do parents get a shot at happiness, and should they be punished for it by their children? When a parent has an affair to become more happy, do they stop to consider how it would affect the rest of their family, or are they allowed to be selfish for once?

As I was reading, I kept hoping it would get better. It doesn't measure up to Dessen's previous books for me.

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