Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

by Sarah Dessen
New York : Viking Childrens Books, 2011.

Mclean, named for her dad's favorite college basketball coach, has been reinventing herself ever since her parents divorce. Every time they move with her father's job, she's changed names and put on a persona - Lisbet, Eliza, Beth. Meanwhile, her mother is constantly calling, wanting Mclean to come for a visit. But Mclean can't go back to her old life. This is just one more move, one more restaurant for her father to rescue, one more town, one more school. Before long, she'll be moving on, and she can't afford to get invested in anything or anyone...can she?

Longtime Sarah Dessen readers will not be disappointed with her latest offering. Mclean is a likable character, even if I sometimes felt myself relating more to her mother than her. I caught myself wondering if her mother could really be that bad, before it occurred to me that Mclean is also our narrator, and surely to a teenage girl a mother could feel that overprotective and demanding, even if she really wasn't. The use of flashbacks, particular events only hours prior to the narrative present, broke up the narrative flow for me, though I enjoyed Mclean's story and experiences.

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