What Happened to Goodbye (fiction)

Shhhh… it’s my first Sneak-in Saturday, when I bring you a book that I read, loved, and reviewed BEFORE it rose to the bestseller lists. But it’s not fair to tell y’all about books months and months before you can buy them in your local indie bookstore or find at your library, so I have to wait till release date is near. And sometimes the darn pre-orders take a book to superstar status before it’s even published. Sigh.

So as a moving-all-the-time-kid myself, I really could identify with Mclean’s wish to just stop packing up and going away. Moving during high school stinks, let me tell ya.

It’s nice to find that Dessen is not a “formula” writer, that her situations and characters aren’t just carbon-copies from one book to the next. Her funny tweet today: “Most surreal experience: half asleep in terminal bookshop, hearing commercial for my own book on store TV. Whoa.” on her way to Houston.

Identity, family, friendship, and the future – one of the books y’all will love (even if it did wind up a bestseller, darn it). And some great insights into the restaurant industry and college basketball fandom, too.


Book info: What Happened to Goodbye / Sarah Dessen. Viking Children’s, 2011. [author’s website] [author’s blog] [publisher website] [book trailer one and two]

Recommendation: Eliza, Beth, Lizbet –at each new school, Mclean uses part of her middle name to reinvent herself after the horrible divorce, as she and her dad travel from town to town so he can help failing restaurants. After Mom left Dad for the basketball coach at the university, their favorite team and shared passion, how could she stay in her hometown?

So she’s the drama rebel in one town, the joining-every-club girl in another, but never makes close friends because they’ll move again soon. She keeps Dad organized while he saves or closes down each restaurant – that and her schoolwork are enough.

Until this time, when she introduces herself as Mclean to the guy next door and winds up with a circle of unlikely friends at school. Getting involved with a community project being built in the restaurant’s upstairs room was a fluke, but what about getting involved with David next door?

How can she avoid her mom’s requests that she visit her new baby brother and sister at the coach’s big new house more often? How long will it take Dad to fix or shut down Luna Blu? When they leave this time, will she be able to just vanish from school again, without any goodbyes?

Another great story with heart from Sarah Dessen – 402 pages. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

4 thoughts on “What Happened to Goodbye (fiction)

  1. I keep hearing Dessen’s name, and this one sounds like the perfect book to start exploring her. We just moved to MD, and my fifth grader had plenty of opinions about it. I think this would be a great one for both of us to read and discuss. Thanks, as always!

  2. Tia – My HS gals loved, loved Sarah Dessen! You’ll need to read this before your preteen daughter does. Mclean is in HS, but it’s her mom who’s gotten into the *ahem* compromising situation. Be sure you’re ready to discuss that infidelity (and resulting twins!).

    **Katy M
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

  3. My daughter loves loves loves Sarah Dessen and she’s 23! She bought this book for her Nook as soon as it was out. I have to wait for the hardcopy to arrive at the library before I can read it. We shelve Dessen in our “Older Teen” section. Mature topics and situations.
    Jill Patterson/California

    PS: I just found your blog through Unshelved.

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