Sunday, April 22, 2012

"What Happened to Goodbye" by Sarah Dessen

Mclean Sweet hasn't been herself for the past two years of her life. She has been Eliza, Lizbet, Beth, and even Liz for half of a day in her new home of Lakeview. New city = new life; This is how Mclean copes with her and her father's constant traveling, and ultimately, how she deals with her parents' divorce. However, something feels different in Lakeview; something that begins when Mclean meets Dave Wade and his friends. In the midst of her new school, her father's new job, and quirky peers that soon become friends, the new girl in town starts to ask, who is the real Mclean Sweet?

Sarah Dessen's What Happened to Goodbye exposes the common adolescent's struggle with their sense of belonging through multiple character examples. This novel provides down-to-earth first person narration that attracts the  young adult reader, and can even have a significant effect on those outside of the young adult range. There is also a nice hint of humor throughout, which engages the audience even more.

I was definitely excited to read this novel, and I even took my time reading it in order to gain the full experience. Although I have passed the adolescent stage, my life's goal and purpose is still in question, which makes this novel a much-needed read beginning with high school audiences and college students. Mclean Sweet's resilient, creative, and adaptable nature is contagious in this novel and leaves the reader with a new-found determination to start asking: what happened...? In figuring out what happened in the past, you are one step closer to finding the real you.


Nicole Dahl said...

I think that this novel would be one that many young adults could connect to because of the issues that it raises regarding a sense of belonging and defining a sense of self. I think that defining oneself is something that everyone struggles to do and is something that can be fluid and change throughout one's life journey. I think though, that trying to figure out where you belong or who you really art starts as a teenager, and that this book would offer some insight into those challenges. I also like when books make me laugh and agree that helps with reader engagement as well.

ashallard said...

This book definitely seems like it would appeal to YA. I think that finding yourself isn't something that only teenagers struggle with. I think there are many adults out there who still have yet to figure out who they are and what they want to do with life. I feel like integrating this book into middle school and high school could really help students decide with the college process and with major life decisions that they may face in high school.

Tom Philion said...

I really enjoy Sarah Dessen's writing, her books are terrific outside of school reading for teens. Would have liked to have heard a bit more about the plot and situations, but appreciate the core questions you pose.