What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

It’s time for another addition to my series Sundays with Sarah! We’re nearing the end!

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

happened to goodbye

Synopsis from GoodreadsA 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?

Feelings: One thing that I think Sarah Dessen does really well in this book is capture how it feels to be caught between two parents. Mclean’s parents have been divorced for a while, but she and her dad just keep moving around. She hasn’t really been able to process it or even face what happened, so she’s just been pressing it down. In this book, she has to face those feelings and bring them out into the light. As a person who went through something similar, I found myself really connecting to what Mclean was going through. I think for readers who don’t understand this experience, this book could really shed some light.

Issues: Honestly, I felt like there were a lot of things that happened that didn’t need to happen. We also had some characters that we didn’t need. For me, there were a few of these events and characters that distracted from the heart of the narrative. Also, I didn’t like the flow of the story. Dessen always has little scenes within the chapters that switch around, but this time it just felt jumbled.

Characters: The romance in this book is pretty different from Dessen’s other books. Dave is awkward and super smart, he doesn’t have a troubled past or a dark and broody kind of demeanor. Basically, he has zero swoon factor, but he’s sweet. I loved when he tells her that he wants her to be his girlfriend. These are the kinds of guys I’ve known in my life! Ha!

I like how Dessen weaved their romance together because Mclean had a lot of soul searching to do. It wouldn’t have been great for her to dive into some hot and heavy romance. She needed to be reminded that she’s worth getting to know and that her true self is awesome. Mclean is a really mature character for her age. She takes care of her dad and just generally gets stuff done. I loved how she welcomed Deb into her friend group even before she’d really established HERSELF as part of the friend group.

Final thoughts: In the end, I think this book was good. Like I said, some of the minor characters distracted me and I ended up skimming through some of the events, but ultimately it’s a good story. I’d recommend it if you’ve liked Dessen’s other books or if you just want a good summertime read with a cute little romance.

Pick this up if you liked:

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Goodreads rating: 3.98/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.2/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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