• Tabitha Tomala

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Updated: Jul 12

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What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Divorce is never easy. When the divorce centers around a high-profile affair, it's even worse. McLean lives with her father, traveling from town to town as he fixes restaurants for his consulting firm. Each new town is a chance to remake herself and figure out who she wants to be. And another chance to avoid her mother. But when she ends up in Lakeview, everything starts to change. McLean starts to wonder if she even knows who she is anymore.


What Happened to Goodbye takes you through a teen’s perspective of divorce. It shows the struggles kids go through trying to balance between two homes and the resentment that can grow for one or the other parent. It also delves into the misconceptions that can arise when people fail to communicate or fail to listen to one another.


McLean will go through a range of emotions as she tries to come to terms with her parents’ divorce. At first, the constant moves seem perfect. It’s like a new adventure every time she starts a new school where she can play whatever role she chooses. But McLean slowly loses her identity. Not only does she not have a place to call home, but the long-known routines are gone as well. As she thinks back to the times when her family was whole, she starts to realize how much she misses it all. You can only hide from the truth for so long.


This an even-paced book, taking the reader through McLean’s growing understanding of her new family dynamic. There isn’t a lot of tension and the plot is straight forward. If you’re looking for a simple young adult read, then this is your book. I also think it would be a great book to offer children whose parents are divorced. And yes, it is age appropriate for young teens.


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