Mclean and her father move a lot. No, really: They move A LOT. She's about to start her last semester of high school in their fourth town—fourth state—in two years.
She's okay with that, though. Every move is one more step removed from her parents' very public divorce. Every move is a do-over. A fresh start. A blank slate. With each move, she makes a clean break from her previous life; no loose ends, no regrets, no loss, no pain.
She's been three very different girls—Eliza, Lizbet, and Beth—at three different high schools, and she has every intention of being someone else entirely in Lakeview. But things don't go entirely as planned, and she finds herself in the uncomfortable position of being... herself.
What Happened to Goodbye is, as expected, classic Sarah Dessen. It's got family drama that's so realistic that I spent entire pages on the verge of tears, not because it's a sad sort of book, but because Dessen perfectly captures the push-pull between an estranged mother and daughter, without ever making either one into the bad guy. They both make mistakes, and they certainly don't—sometimes won't—understand each other, but they're both real people.
It's also got the expected tip-top dialogue. And the tight-knit group of friends that's perfectly open to accepting and embracing not one, but two new members. And the believable romance that doesn't fix all of life's problems, but it does help. And, of course, it's set in the same world as her previous books.
It's also, like perennial favorite* Hope Was Here, set in and around a restaurant. So that makes it even more like literary comfort food**.
There isn't a whole lot more to say: If you're a Sarah Dessen fan, than A) you've probably already read it, or B) you already know what you're going to get when you pick it up. If you aren't a Sarah Dessen fan—and if you love YA contemporary fiction, the only way you aren't a fan is if you haven't read her—I'd suggest that you get off your high horse and pick up a darn book.
Start with Just Listen, maybe?
Or Along for the Ride?
Or, heck, this one?
Yeesh. Why do you keep procrastinating about this?
*Well, MY perennial favorite, and that's what counts, as it's MY blog. Nyah.
**I ate, like, four thousand bowls of popcorn while reading it. I realize that popcorn isn't particularly exciting, but I can make it one-handed, so I don't have to stop reading, even when melting and pouring the butter. (Fruit would have worked, too, but we were out of apples and I didn't want to drip plum juice all over a library book.)
Book source: ILLed through my library.