Teens Everywhere will See themselves in Mclean

Summary:

Mclean Sweet has been moving town to town ever since her parent’s divorce. Mclean’s life was intact when her parents were together, but her sense of self fell apart after her mother had an affair with a famous basketball coach. In each place she has assumed different identities - Eliza, Liz, Beth. In each new place, she wipes the slate clean. So here she is, in a new town with her dad. Lakeview has given Mclean a real feeling of "home." At least as much as she can being in high school and living with a dad who runs a restaurant and her Mom starting a new family.

So now, what identity will she choose? Or is it time for the real Mclean Sweet to stand up? And what about Dave, is he the person who can help Mclean find her true identity and get back that sense of self? It isn't going to be easy. Dad just announced that he (meaning they) might be moving to Hawaii for a new job, and Mom turns up the heat on moving back "home" with the new family. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
What Happened to Goodbye is a story about one’s identity. Dessen does an amazing job crafting a cast of characters, which contributes to how they - and the reader! - get to know each other and form strong bonds. Dessen allows the reader to discover new things about each character every step of the way. I especially enjoyed the family dynamic between Mclean and her mother.

The author uses a lot of detail to wow the reader, which is something readers may not enjoy. I found the story to be long and slow to build. Her attention to detail and description is great, but it can be overwhelming, too. Because of foul language, alcohol and intimacy, this book is for teen readers. This coming of age novel will make a great gift for teens everywhere.

Parent Perspective:
There is a lot of depth and nuance to this story. Yes, it is about relationships, but is also about figuring out how to be true to yourself. The story is well paced and realistic, with characters you can relate to (even if they aren't your personality type).


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Like Mclean, readers will find themselves loving Lakeview. When it ends, they won't want to leave.

Content Awareness Factors:

Readers need to be aware of profanity, alcohol and sexual references. Our teen notes that they are quite minimal compared to other books written for this audience.


Type of Book:
This is a coming-of-age story for teens. It is a high interest / low readability book.
Educational Themes:

What Happened to Goodbye is a great choice for a mother-daughter or youth book club. Mclean and her friends face realistic choices, but also have things to learn that can generate great discussion.

Reading Level:
4.8
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. This is a book teen girls could come back to when the days get tough and they need a comfort book.

Title What Happened to Goodbye
Author Sarah Dessen
Publisher Speak © 2011
ISBN 9780670012947
Material Hard Cover
Cost $19.99
Genres Family, Coming of Age, Realism | Realistic Fiction
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