Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: What Happened to Goodbye?

I usually love to read science-fiction and action books and so the time had come for me to add a little variety and switch genre's for one read. That is when I turned to What Happened to Goodbye? by Sarah Dessen which is one of  those books that may not be so action-packed but is still wonderful all the same.
I speak from experience as a teenage girl, Sarah Dessen's books are easy to relate to. What teenage girl at some point doesn’t want to just start all over again and become someone new, someone different? Enter Mclean Sweet, the main character of What Happened to Goodbye?, also known as Eliza, Lizbet, Beth, and Liz. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her dad who relocates frequently. Trying to escape her past, everywhere she goes Mclean changes her personality first from perky girl, to drama queen, finally to all around joiner. But, when she arrives in Lakeview everything changes. Mclean is forced to somewhat be herself again.  Almost everyone one at some point in their life wants to change who they are or start over
One thing that has impressed me with Sarah Dessen’s books is just how real her stories seem and how easy it is to relate to all her characters. The stories she tells deal with a lot of problems that teens face everyday and some that I can relate to in my daily life.  We all have troubles with our families, our friends, boys, and you don’t find many writers who really write about such real problems, but it is something I love about Sarah Dessen’s books.
In the last Sarah Dessen book I read Just Listen, one of my favorite aspects of the book was the characters. I loved their unique personalities, how well they interacted with one another, and how the author makes them come to life. How you can find characters in the stories that are just like people you know in your real life. In this book that is also one of the many things that I really enjoyed about reading it. I love how each and every one of the characters has a completely different personality yet they all mesh together perfectly. Mclean for example, has one of those personalities that others can’t help but connect with and she instantly starts making friendships the minute she gets to Lakeview. She creates relationships with all that she meets, even those that might not fit in, which is one thing I love about her character. While I loved almost all the characters there were a few that stood out besides Mclean. One character I really enjoyed reading about was Deb, one of the girls in the story that Mclean becomes close friends with. Even though at the beginning Deb, was a little out of the circle and shy once we got to know her I loved her sparky and happy personality that made me want to become friends with her myself. Dave was also a character that stood out to me from the beginning and while I liked how he was different from some of the other guys I have read about in Dessen’s books I didn’t fall for him like I did some of the others. Dave just didn’t connect with me like I thought he would. To me, there was just nothing special about Dave. He seemed to have no flaws and he was just to perfect, just like out of a book. The other guys I have read about from her books just seem more real to me in the way that they have flaws and have feelings  and I could picture them in being real, but Dave being so flawless just doesn’t fit in this unperfect world.  Seeing as he was different I thought I would have some kind of connection with his character, but even now as I think about it I feel as if I didn’t get to know enough about Dave to truly make an assessment on his character.
I loved many things about What Happened to Goodbye?, but one thing that disappointed me in this book was the lack of connection/romance between Mclean and Dave. Maybe, this book was intended to be more focused on the family aspect instead the sweet and romantic aspect, but even so I felt like Mclean and Dave had so much potential as a couple that could have been elaborated on. I wanted to enjoy reading about Mclean and Dave so much that I would jealous of Mclean, but because I never really felt there relationship click, that didn’t happen.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Although I would not consider this book my favorite of Sarah Dessen’s I did think it was a good read and even if one is not a contemporary or realistic fiction fan I think anyone could enjoy reading this meaningful,light hearted book.

My rating for What Happened to Goodbye? is 3.5 out of 5 palm trees

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