Since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.
Combing Sarah Dessen’s trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.
Mclean Elizabeth Sweet and her father love Defriese University’s basketball team. Her father played for them when he was in college and the two of them were avid fans. So much so, that McLean was named after the long time basketball coach of Defriese. When he retired, Mclean and her father were excited by the university’s choice of Peter Hamilton. Unfortunately, when Mclean’s parents told her of their impending divorce because of her mother’s affair with Peter, basketball was ruined for Mclean and her father forever.
McLean felt out of place with her mother and Peter. Even more so when her mother announced her pregnancy with twins. She felt as if her mother had a whole new life that didn’t seem to include her, so when her father was offered a new job as a restaurant consultant she knew she wanted to be with him. He would have to travel often and it offered them both a chance for a fresh new start.
Not only did the moves to four different towns over two years give them a chance to constantly start over, Mclean would reinvent herself with every move. First she was Eliza, not much different than herself. Then she became Lizbet the drama diva. At the last town she was Beth, the student council secretary and all around joiner. This time she and her dad are in Lakeview, and when she meets her neighbor Dave, for the first time and he asks her name, she says Mclean, which surprises her.
During her time in Lakeview, Mclean begins to just be herself for the first time since the divorce. She makes real friends and a special friendship with Dave begins to grow into something more. She learns more about herself than she bargained for and on the way grows closer to those around her and finds love where she least expected it. Ultimately, she discovers that the divorce wasn’t really the end of her family and that she really could just be herself, Mclean, and like who she was.
“We make such messes in this life, both accidentally and on purpose. But wiping the surface clean doesn’t really make anything any neater. It just masks what is below. It’s only when you really dig down deep, go underground, that you can see who you really are.”
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
“He’s something,” I replied. She considered this, zipping her purse shut. The she said, “Well everyone is.” Everyone is something, I thought…For some reason, this had stuck with me, simple and yet not, ever since she’d said it.