I expected What Happened To Goodbye to be amazing, by virtue of it being by Sarah Dessen. So while this one was definitely enjoyable and in Dessen's classic style, something about it missed the mark for me.
The premises of Dessen's novels always hooks me in. After I read Truth About Forever I wanted to desperately to work with a caterer. Along For Ride almost made me want to finally learn to ride a bike (but I'm 16 and learning now would just be...embarrassing). And What Happened To Goodbye was no different in that aspect. Mclean's family situation was odd, but not unbelievably odd, and I though this situation is portrayed in a negative light in the book, I again found myself wanting to move all the the time with my restaurant-rehabilitating dad.
Though I enjoyed What Happened To Goodbye very much, the tone felt incredibly familiar. Dessen's protagonists, to me, all seem to have the same voice. And though I get quite attached to this voice, I'd really like to see something different.
Sarah didn't disappoint on the romance aspect, however. Dave was quirky and sweet and funny, and completely loveable. Dave and Mclean started out just as friends, and so their relationship grew naturally and felt realistic.
Dave and Mclean were, of course, surrounded by the likeable background characters that Dessen is so adept at fleshing out and creating. Another reason I always want to live in Dessen's novels after reading them: the people.
Though the ending let me down. It felt rushed, and immediately followed the token character breakdown/turning point. I found the denouement a little implausible, as the problem too easily solved.
I give What Happened To Goodbye a 3 out of 5. I'd definitely recommend it to devout Dessen fans, but not any who were hoping for something fresh and different.