Elizabeth. Lizbet. Beth. Every time Mclean moves into a new town, she reinvents herself. Elizabeth was popular, that girl who associated with those kids. Lizbet was an eccentric sort and hung with the theater clique. Beth was the girl who was involved in every club with multiple leadership responsibilities, a face everyone recognized. Mclean has created so many people to hide her true self, the one connected to the betrayal of her mother and a bitter divorce. After three years of not being the girl she was meant to be, she’s forgotten who exactly Mclean is.
When Mclean moves to Lakeview, she wonders who she will mold herself into, perhaps a girl who’s more flexible than she’s been in the past, a girl who likes to party. However, Mclean’s plans are obstructed when Lakeview begins to feel like a place she hasn’t known in the longest time: home. As time passes and she becomes acquainted with the humble town, Mclean learns a thing or two about love and friendship. She meets Dave, a boy stifled by his own genius who just wants his driven parents to let him be a normal teenager. There’s Heather, bold and opinionated, and lonely Deb who finds acceptance in a group of unlikely people. More importantly, Mclean is reconnected with the girl she used to be.
I was expecting to enjoy What Happened to Goodbye, and I was not disappointed. The best thing about this book, or any Sarah Dessen novel for that matter, is how beautifully relationships between characters develop. They learn from one another as their relationships strengthen. Dialogue is never contrived and flows naturally with occasional humor. They’re the type of conversations we can relate to. Possibly most lovable are the characters themselves. They are far from your usual chick lit clichés, and you’ll surely find yourself forming an attachment with one or two of them.
This is one of those novels that force you to recall what’s important in life. Sometimes we need to just breathe and concentrate on the people that make us happy and trust them to love us. What Happened to Goodbye is an amazing read that you’ll probably end up reading twice. Or maybe even three times.
Danielle Reid is currently enjoying her final years of high school in south Florida with plans of majoring in English. When there isn’t music in her ears and sand between her toes, Danielle can be found curled up with a good book in her room.