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What Happened to Goodbye, Sarah Dessen


McLean lives and travels with her father, a restaurant consultant, after her parents’ divorce. Her father’s work takes them to different cities for a few months at a time, and McLean takes advantage of this by exploring a different personality — and name — in each place. So far she has been through four names, which makes it quite a surprise when she finds herself just being plain old McLean in her new town, Lakeview, where her father is helping to makeover an Italian restaurant. After being snapped up on her first day of school by Deb, the self-appointed hospitality committee of one, McLean finds herself making friends and starting to settle down comfortably. However, her mother, who is now married to a star basketball coach, is determined to be a part of McLean’s life. Despite her parental strife and falling (literally) for the boy next door, McLean is enjoying life in Lakeview more than any of her previous stays.

Although I have long been a fan of Dessen’s work, I found this latest novel lacking. I felt that the storyline wrapped up far too quickly and neatly at the end. I did find the inclusion of technology as a plot device interesting — especially McLean’s multiple Internet personas finally catching up to her. Hopefully this novel was just a fluke in Dessen’s otherwise usually stellar books for teenage girls.

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