You know I had Sarah Dessen all lined up on my Kindle as soon as I heard her next book was coming out. And it was delivered overnight! Like Santa Clause! The best.

Speed Read:

McClean’s family is crazy into basketball team of the university of their town. As in, go to all the games, know every player, every play, and get way overexcited when the new coach starts to come to their family restaurant. But then it turns out he has been getting way too close to McClean’s mom, and she’s going to leave McClean’s dad to marry the coach and have babies. Ouch.

Now, McClean and her dad move from town to town, while he fixes up restaurants and she invents a new personality for herself at each stop. Except now, in this newest town, fate steps in and McClean has to step up to who she really is, adulterous mother and all.

The Deal:

Ok. Sarah Dessen, I love you like nobody’s business. You represent teenagerness to me. Your books, the beach, and a giant bag of salt and vinegar chips. I mean, not like anything has changed. I’m fully intending on bringing This Lullabye and a bag of Kettle chips to the beach with me this weekend. And I still wish one of your boys (maybe Norman or Dexter please?) would magically appear at my work one day holding an ice cream cone.

But.

I hate to do this! But I just didn’t really like McClean all that much! I mean, I liked all of the secondary characters, and I liked the restaurant thing, and I liked that we were back in Lakeview, but I just…McClean seemed kind of like a mashup of all of Dessen’s previous characters. She kind of got mad at her mom, but not really. She kind of is nice, but not really, but she’s not really feisty or witty either. Who is she? It’s not like hanging out with some of Dessen’s previous characters, who have heart and depth. And at this point, the whole present an ongoing conflict and then new people in the character’s life who will help her overcome it is getting a little formulaic.

That said, this is still Sarah Dessen. I hold her to a higher standard than many other authors, because she rocks. Her writing is graceful and her world so real. Her characters encounter real life problems that everyone encounters. Not everyone deals with anorexia or a parent who struggles with addiction or a death in the family when they are sixteen. But a lot of people deal with distant parents, or divorce, or moving to a new town and wanting to be a completely different person.

How Far Should You Go:

Nothing dangerous or illegal for this one, folks. But if someone asks you to like, attempt to stand on your head or put twenty grapes in your mouth in exchange for this book, totally do it. It’s a fun, lovable read. It’s by Sarah Dessen. And it’s June, so it’s perfect for summer. I would probably even go back to driving my little sister around for a day or two if it meant I could read this book. But I wouldn’t run any stop signs or anything.

The 13/16 Test:

Everyone can read Sarah Dessen. Come on. Well, the entire spectrum of YA people. Meaning 12-18 year olds. Meaning both Sixteen and Thirteen are good. Glad we got that covered.

The Low Down:

What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (Penguin)
Published: May 10th, 2011
Classified as: Young Adult

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