Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile; May 10, 2011
Hardcover, 402 pages
Borrowed from library

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 chance 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. Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

- Description from Goodreads.com

Remember that time when I said that there was a magic formula to all of Sarah Dessen's books? Yeah, well, I'm not finding it so magic anymore. 

Somewhere between Along for the Ride and this book, my thoughts on Sarah Dessen shifted from "I acknowledge all her books are similar but they're great regardless" to "I acknowledge all her books are similar and they're boring me". 

I mean, there's no doubt Dessen is a great writer. Words flow so easily out her mouth but frankly, all her characters are the same and all her storylines progress in the same way and really, after a handful of her novels, I have to say that her books aren't special any more. Take this book for example. Dave is as homogeneous as they come. I had no sense of who he was at all and you know, I had the same problem with Eli from Along for the Ride. 

And then of course, Mclean. No different from ALL the other Dessen protagonists I've read about. I mean, I honestly can't tell the difference between Mclean's character and say, Emaline's character. 

Like I said, the novels aren't special any more because I can't set them apart. Which sucks because I still remember the hold Sarah Dessen had on me after This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever. She was kind of like a comfy throw I crawled under whenever I was feeling down but now? Now I can't find that darn throw! 

And I won't give up yet because I still have faith that I will rediscover that Dessen magic but at this point, I can't help but think that it might be gone.


  1. *pat pat* Maybe I shouldn't try all of her books after all. But I'll definitely still give them a try.

    Hopefully, if you read one of her other books, you'll feel that spark again.

  2. I haven't given up hope yet but I don't know if any of her other ones will hold that same magic the earlier ones I read possessed!

  3. Yes to this! I realized long ago that her books are far too similar for me and since have been searching for bloggers who feel the same way, a surprisingly small group. Dessen IS a good writer-all of her books that I have read are worded smoothly-but I can't get over the fact that all of her novels tell essentially the same story. I wish she would branch out, because something different from her could really be great!

  4. Now that it's starting to bug me more than entertain me, I can't get the similarity out of my mind! She really is a great writer and I would love to see her spin something different out. I love her writing but truthfully, I've had enough of the same story over and over. I want something new!

  5. Of course we can still be friends! :) I mean, I do love Sarah Dessen for bringing Wes and Dexter into my world but lately, I've just been feeling a little let down from her books. But I do agree with what you said, how it varies with person. Some people like the similarity and are okay with it and others not so much...

    Thanks for commenting Rachel!