Who is the real McLean?
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.
As you may or may not know, I decided to reread all the Dessen books in the hopes that I might like them more the second time around, now older and wiser. In actuality, what I was really hoping for was a character I could love, with a plotline slightly more traumatic and pitiful than some of Dessen’s other works. Something not necessarily tragic, but sad.
In reading WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, I have found my new favorite Dessen book. She completely delivered on what I wanted, and honestly–I feel like this book is completely different from the other Dessen stories. First off, Mclean.
I could pity Mclean. Somehow, in some of Dessen’s other works, I can’t learn to really pity someone who has to spend their summer somewhere they didn’t want to. I can say, “Oh, yeah, that sucks.” And try to cheer up that person, but I don’t feel super down to the point where I can actually admit that I genuinely pity them. I could pity Mclean. Her story, the way she has to live, the realistically of it all, I enjoyed immensely.
And the thing with the name? Yes. I was expecting Mclean to just give up after the first day when it came to getting people to call her Liz, but I was so glad when Dessen wrote it so that Mclean actually reluctantly gave it up. She didn’t want to. In some books, the author just shows a little resistance and then lets it go. Not Dessen.
I loved the way that Mclean actually made friends. See, on the flip side of this story, Mclean could’ve been wallowing in a pool of self-pity. “Oh me, I can’t make any friends and I can’t do anything, I just have to push them away so that I won’t have to hurt later on.” Nope, nope, nope. While every story has it’s ups and downs, I was glad that one of the downs wasn’t the sob story on this one.
Then there’s the plot.
The way I figured this would work, Mclean would just magically go to a party and meet one person out of the sixty there and get to know that person. The way Mclean first met Dave? Yes. Totally wasn’t expecting that.
I don’t have cable. My family wasn’t watching it, so we just cut it and got Netflix, Prime and stuff. Any and all the anime I want to watch is online. Same thing with dramas. For old shows and movies, Netflix. Library. There’s ways around cable. I miss some things though. So You Think You Can Dance. Old cartoons. Spongebob episodes. (Hey, in all fairness, I’ve watched every single one. It’s hard to break away from tradition.) ABDC. The sort.
Anyway, you must be wondering what this has to do with anything. Don’t worry, I’m getting there.
My family goes to Whistler to ski fairly often for people who don’t live around there. 2-3 long trips a year. So, when we went, we were bored and turned on the tv. They didn’t have any good stuff on the kids channels or the history channel, so we turned to Food Network. During that time, they were doing marathon sessions of Iron Chef and Chopped. We were up until 2 AM.
Thing is, before the Chopped marathon, they were showing Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine. Dude, the guy’s harsh. I can understand that though. Totally. Almost every great book blogger I know hates it when people who don’t know about reviewing call them harsh. But that’s a different conversation. This was a great underlying story to this book. I really liked being able to see Mclean’s dad’s ups and downs as well as her own. It was really fun to learn about the restaurant and what it really takes in a person to be able to do what Robert Irvine does in real life.
Overall, this book was a lot of fun and I was really impressed. I have high hopes for THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER… 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 402
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