What Happened to Goodbye

Sarah Dessen

What Happened to Goodbye
Penguin Random House Children's UK
United Kingdom
30 May 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

Sarah Dessen

The powerful new novel from a New York Times bestseller.

Mclean never lets herself get too attached …

After the scandal of her mother’s affair, Mclean and her dad chose life on the road. But since losing her family and home, Mclean has lost herself too; she’s been Eliza, then Lizbet, then Beth - changing her name as often as she changes towns. Until now. Her new neighbour, Dave, is like no one she’s met before. Is it finally time to stop reinventing? Or will Mclean turn her back on the new life she loves, without even saying goodbye?


Hands down, my favourite Sarah Dessen novel is Along for the Ride. I think it’s pretty close to perfection, so I was suspicious about her new book, What Happened to Goodbye. Oh, I knew it would be good and balance those typical Dessen themes of romance, pain and how ridiculously hard it is to grow up. But would it, could it ever be as good as Along for the Ride? But then I met Dave, the typically untypical boy in this story and I’ll admit it, I’m a little bit in love.

McLean and her father chose life on the road after the scandal of her mother’s affair and nothing is easier on the road than reinventing yourself every time you stop. But what happens when reinventing yourself means losing yourself one nickname at a time? Then McLean meets Dave and accidently uses her real name but is this really her? Is it just that easy to slip back into yourself?

Dessen’s books perform that amazing trick of being fun, fluffy reads that just happen to cover a heart of serious issues. Family separation, self-identity, the notions of belonging and trust all fit seamlessly together like the pieces of the town model Mclean finds herself working on. And slowly piece by piece, just like Mclean, everything finds its rightful place.

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