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What Happened to Goodbye [Hardcover]

Sarah Dessen
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 10 2011
A New York Times bestseller
A new day. A new place. A new life.
In the past few years, Mclean has pretended to be so many different people that she hardly remembers who she really is anymore.
The adorable guy next door might be able to help her figure it out.
But is she ready for it?
“A cut above” —People
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever

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What Happened to Goodbye + The Fault in Our Stars
Price For Both: CDN$ 31.22

  • The Fault in Our Stars CDN$ 14.43

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Product Description


"Dessen’s talent is creating just that comfortable space for young adults struggling with identity, relationships, and all that messy family stuff. Her quirky characters reach out to one another to forge genuine friendships and gentle first loves."
(The Horn Book)

"Dessen’s fans will be happy to devour this latest offering."

"Readers can count on Dessen; she's a pro at creating characters caught at a nexus of change, who have broken relationships and who need to make decisions."
(Kirkus Reviews)

"Dessen once again offers a substantive, well-crafted exploration of a teen’s life that will deeply satisfy her legions of fans."

"Dessen’s prose is clean and focused, the characters are developed and real, and the plot is believable. Mclean’s journey through the healing process after her parents’ divorce provides bibliotherapy for any teen dealing with family issues, and the secondary plot of tentative steps toward trust and friendship is beautiful. This is a must-have for any young adult collection."

About the Author

Sarah Dessen is one of the most popular writers for young adults. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold more than seven million copies. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine. Visit her online at www.sarahdessen.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By shannon
At 22 years old, I have been a fan of Sarah Dessen's since I first read her book "The Truth About Forever" in high school. Having read that particular novel over 6 times now (once every summer), I was really excited to pick up "What Happened to Goodbye" when it came out a few weeks ago.
I read it in about 2 days, and while I still greatly admire Dessen's writing style and her ability to teach life lessons through her narrative, I did not enjoy the novel as much as her earlier books. The story does not contain as much depth as some of her others, and character McLean's relationship with Dave is somewhat lacking in excitement and emotion.
I would absolutely recommend "What Happened to Goodbye" to anyone looking for an enjoyable summer read, but personally this novel is not my favorite of hers. I encourage readers to purchase this book, but to make sure to read her other amazing novels as well (such as "Along for the Ride," "Lock and Key," and my all time favorite "The Truth About Forever").
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite May 24 2013
To me, she has written a lot better books. It was a little dry and hard to get through. Her best reads in order (my opinion):
1) Dreamland
2) This Lullaby
3) Along for the Ride
4) Lock and Key
5) The Truth about Forever
6) Just Listen
7) Keeping the Moon
8) Someone like You
9) What happened to Goodbye
10) That Summer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  212 reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong, realistic book May 10 2011
By The Compulsive Reader - Published on Amazon.com
When it comes to being the new girl, Mclean is an expert. She's made four moves since her parents' very unpleasant and very public divorce in her hometown two years earlier, and she's tried out a new persona in each place. She already has a new identity planned out for her arrival at Lakeview, but when she meets Dave, somehow her real identity slips out. Dave and his friends are not like the people she's met in the past, and in bonding with them over a shared community service project and the love of college basketball, Mclean is forced to be herself and make peace with her past.

What Happened to Goodbye is a smart, magnetic book about identity, relationships, and love that will make you wish you could crawl between the page and live with the characters in their messy world. Mclean hasn't really bonded with anyone since her parents' divorce, and while she gets along with her dad just fine, her relationship with her mom is tepid at best. Lakeview is full of surprises and unexpected friends, and Mclean is forced to connect with people. She finds a friend in her next-door-neighbor Dave, who is academically brilliant, but not always so social, and becomes friends with Deb, a loner with surprising talents. As she opens her real self up to these friends, she's forced to deal with her mother, who is pushy and seemingly ignorant of her daughter's resentment for her part in the divorce. Between college basketball games, working at her father's new restaurant and building a model replica of Lakeview, Mclean re-learns what it means to get to know someone and works at re-building a relationship she once thought was over and done, all the while fighting the temptation to cut and run when things get hard. A little romantic and very funny, What Happened to Goodbye is an excellent novel about relationships and friendship. Dessen has outdone herself yet again in this complicated, funny, and touching book.
74 of 84 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly Fine May 11 2011
By Reviewer2011 - Published on Amazon.com
I wish I could read "What Happened to Goodbye" with a clean slate. I wish I didn't have Keeping the Moon, Someone Like You, Dreamland, and This Lullaby clouding my expectations. I also wish I didn't have The Truth About Forever, Lock and Key, Along for the Ride dulling my palate. I feel like the plot of What Happened to Goodbye is too similar to her previous three books, and the quirk is too manufactured. It has become formulaic. Just like Mclean changed her wrappings from drama girl to student council girl to cheerleader, Dessen changes the wrapping from `girl with dead father, workaholic mother finds love' to `girl drunk mother, absent father finds love' to `girl emotionally reserved mother and father finds love'. It feels like they're all the same story a millimeter under the surface.

There are so many things to be enjoyed about this book, but overall, it's too weighed down by the ponderously heavy metaphors that Mclean seems to find EVERYWHERE. Leave a hospital=another place she's leaving behind; come out of a cellar=tunneling out of the darkness, someone passing her the potatoes, links on a chain. I know teenage girls are self absorbed, but come on. Not even the most introspective teenage girl can turn the end of every section into a metaphor about her life. It's impossible to be that self absorbed and still function in polite society. Also, she told us so much more than she showed us with this one, there were long weighty paragraphs dedicating to explaining characters' inner motivation. She didn't seem to trust us to make any of the leaps on our own.

All that said, Sarah Dessen could write a grocery list with more charm, depth, and realism than most of the YA writers out there. This was a perfectly enjoyable book that I would probably rate higher if it was by an unfamiliar author. And ii might not be fair to expect more of her than any other author, but she set my expectations high with her previous work, and I can't rate this book higher than 3 stars when I know that her best is much better.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comforting - but only a shadow of Dessen's early works May 30 2011
By E. M. Rhudy - Published on Amazon.com
Sarah Dessen's latest offering, What Happened to Goodbye, fails not so much because it's an objectively worse book than any of her previous nine novels, but because it never emerges from their shadows. Dessen's made a career out of revealing the interior lives of teenage girls, surrounding them with "quirky" friends or co-workers and one sweet and long-suffering boy of the type that's never been seen in a high school, placing her characters in schools and towns familiar to her long-time readers. Dessen doesn't shy from family drama or classic moments of teenage self-doubt or introspection, but What Happened to Goodbye reads like a novel written from a mold. While the book provides a comforting read it's not one that's comparable with Dessen's earlier efforts for the simple reason that it tries too hard to reimagine what those books had.

Dessen here follows Mclean Sweet, the daughter of a former restauranteur and the wife who left him for the basketball coach of the family's favorite university team. Doing her all to avoid her mother and her new family (which includes two new half-siblings), Mclean moves across the country with her father,Gus, spending a few months in town after town as he attempts to resuscitate failing restaurants bought by his friend Charles's company. In each town Mclean renames and remakes herself, becoming "Liz" or "Eliza" or whatever iterations her middle name offers; but in her latest move, she is stymied in her efforts at self-recreation and becomes, again, simply "Mclean."

The quirky characters are in full force here, from the staff of Luna Blu, the restaurant Gus has been brought in to work on, who on paper have no positive qualities but in life are what draw people to eat there, to the friends Mclean finds herself collecting, almost against her will, before she's decided which version of herself she'll be in this new town. Her parents' divorce having proven, to Mclean, that relationships can't last and will only hurt her in the end, she's been in the habit of forming only the surface-level friendships that gather her friends on Dessen's reimagined facebook, Ume.com, but no one she regrets leaving behind as she slips out of town after town.

With the family issues and Mclean's reaction to her parents' divorce and her mother's new life, Dessen is her usual self, confident in envisioning the impact the (very public) break-up of Mclean's life had on her. But that's the problem, maybe; Dessen is simply revisiting her usual territory of broken or breaking families, of teen girls meeting that first boy who will at end help them through their often hidden feelings about their families. What Happened to Goodbye often reads as though Dessen did nothing more than trudge through her old steps as she wrote it.

Dessen is a skilled writer of young adult, and she has undeniable talent when it comes to the interior lives of girls in high school. It's not a talent that she's growing, however, and her earlier books read as fresher than this one because she hadn't yet fallen into the mold that now defines her books. Dessen's last few offerings read as though they might have all been built on the same plot; simply edit character names and quirks and the specifics of family and you have, at heart, a string of books about teenage girls finding themselves in markedly similar ways. What Happened to Goodbye may be a comforting read, but it's not one that will stand time as well as Dessen's earlier novels, particularly That Summer and Someone Like You.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed June 17 2011
By Anna - Published on Amazon.com
I've always been a fan and advocate of Sarah Dessen's novels but "What Happened to Goodbye" has got to be her worst book. She dropped the ball on all fronts. Deb would've been a much better main character. As a friend said, " Plus, she had more chemistry with Dave than McLean with... anybody, really." I absolutely agree. A lot of moments in the story sounded so stiff and scripted. On top of that, Mclean wasn't even a very relatable character. Thus, I didn't sympathize or care for her. A few of the supporting characters seemed to have potentially interesting backstories (Jason, Deb, Riley) that were never told while the rest of the supporting characters seemed to serve mainly as plot drivers. Also, without revealing anything, some things in the story just didn't make sense. I call these, "Hello, common sense?" moments.

"What Happened to Goodbye" is basically one big, predictable cliche. I agree with reviews that say her last two offers were disappointing as well. I've been in denial, hoping the next novel would bring redemption but I cannot turn a blind eye to the latest mediocre offering any longer.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I love Sara Dessen, but this was disappointing. July 2 2011
By Mackattack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The plot was very anticlimactic and the main character was a bit of a cliche. This book was too reminiscent of past Dessen books, but poorly executed. Same stock characters as always. Don't get me wrong, I truly love Sara Dessen's writing, but this was very lackluster, somewhat unrealistic, and led by a rather bland character. Also, the standard boy love interest didn't really make it into the story that much....you kinda forgot they had a thing. I genuinely hope that Dessen blows us away with her next novel -- I know she's more than capable!
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