What Happened to Goodbye

Author: Sarah Dessen
Pages: 402
Pub: 2011; Viking Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Ficiton
Etc: ARC picked up from NCTE

The Short of It
Move; start over; become someone new.

The Long of It
McClean has been many people since her parents divorced, but never McClean.  You see she was named after a famous ball star from a team her father was obsessed with.  And then, her mom left her dad to marry the coach of the famous team. Obviously, things would never be the same.  McClean’s dad left his position as Chef and goes to various restaurants throughout the country fixing them up.  Think of that show Kitchen Nightmares.  This travel allows McClean to reinvent herself every six months.  Her motto is to keep life simple.  And simple means nothing complicated like friends or relationships.  Until she meets Dave and all of his friends and she begins to go by McClean.    

The Thoughts about It

Okay, the first couple of pages I had some concerns. I admit it.  There were some baseball terms and positions that I just wasn’t too keen on paying attention to.  I just have a difficult time visualizing that sort of information.  But, knowing that Dessen usually delivers a decent story, I persevered.  And man, oh man, am I glad that I did.  Seriously.  Within the first twenty pages I was hooked.  I loved McClean, and for personal reasons, her can resonate totally with her choices, especially the need/desire/compulsion to change aspects of herself with her names.  (It’s her middle name she alters – Elizabeth).

McClean is totally authentic as are the relationships within the book.  I love how Dessen created the necessary tension between McClean and her mom.  For very obvious reasons, McClean blames her mom for the new lives she’s had to repeatedly start over.  And yet, as readers, it’s pretty apparent that the marriage had obvious issues because McClean’s dad was hardly ever home.

Then you have this AMAZING supporting character, Deb, who would seriously win awards if there was an award show that gave out character awards.  Deb is this awkward girl that introduces herself to McClean on her first day of school as an ambassador for the welcoming committee.  McClean finds out that Deb’s actually the only one on this committee and most of her peers shun her for being an odd duck.  But then Deb does this awesome favor for McClean, which leads to McClean inviting her to lunch, which THEN leads to all of these little Deb Quirks coming out.  And man her quirks are seriously quirky.  I love her.  I want to be her friend.  And I especially wish that Dessen would write a story about Deb. 

I ended up reading this book in two sittings.  The second one caused me to stay up past my bedroom and tearing up.  I couldn’t help it.  I was just that touched.  Who knew? 


  1. I can't wait to read this!!! I have a beautiful signed copy of it sitting here waiting for me :)

  2. I loved WHTG! Deb is so awesome, she does need her own book. I also got teary, but it was so worth it.


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