Review: Whatever Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 402 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile; 1 edition (May 10, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670012947
Source: Publisher
Rating: YY 1/2

Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move - four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the
unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a hance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself - whoever that is.
Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out

My Thoughts:

I have not read many Sarah Dessen books, but will say that I have enjoyed the few that I have read and wanted WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GOODBYE long before It reached my greedy hands, but I was left a tad bit underwhelmed.

I enjoyed the premise of this book but could not seem to connect with it's main character Mclean; a teen that has not properly dealt with her parents' divorce (unbeknownst to her and her parents). She blames her mom for the divorce and decides to live with her dad whom travels a lot for his job. With each move she takes on different reinventions of her name and in turn her persona's. Now Mclean and her father are in a new town and due to an unusual encounter with the the boy next door she finds that she cannot lie anymore. Now she is making friends and is wanting to stay, but is this the real Mclean? and what will she do to find her? As in true Dessen style a heartfelt story plays out before you and will have your attention until the very end.

As I finished this book I found myself a bit underwhelmed and I realized that I did not feel invested it's main characters, which I found unusual because I have enjoyed Sarah Dessen's previous efforts. Yet, tried to rehash the story in my mind I came up with the same conclusion. I could not sympathise with Mclean and her "many" persona's never seemed to take root and stick in my mind. It all seemed to be glossed over but not given much weight so I could not conceive it properly. I could not even seem to perceive Mclean and Dave as a couple. I know he was a good guy (too good to be true) and that he was insanely smart but you would think that intelligence would have come into better use at times. While I did not care for the protagonist I did enjoy the ease and familiarity Dessen's writing style offered. It was quick and of perfect depth for the beach.

While not one of Dessen's best efforts, fans will undoubtedly devour it, yet will it leave them satiated? The truth is in the perception of the reader.


  1. I loved this, as I do all of Sarah's books, so it's a shame that you didn't. Hopefully her next offering will hit the spot for you.

  2. Oh, sad! I hate when I can't get on the characters' sides. I haven't read this one yet but usually enjoy Sarah's books. Thanks for the review!
    Happy reading,
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  3. I have read every Dessen book except this one, of course I'll read this one because I'm interested in seeing what I think of it. I'm sorry that you couldn't connect with the main character. Thanks for the honest review.

    Pages of Forbidden Love

  4. I haven't read any of Dessen's books and I need to catch up. Interesting review. Thanks!

  5. I haven't read any of Dessen's books, either, and I know I won't be interested in this book based on this review. Thanks so much for sharing, it makes my book shopping so much easier! Have a great day, and happy reading.


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