What Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye - Sarah Dessen Sarah Dessen and I continue to have an odd author/reader relationship. While I love her ability to characterize and to create complex relationships between pairs and within groups of characters, I also find myself more and more annoyed by her habit of overusing flashbacks. As with previous books, I find myself jerked out of the narrative again and again as I'm pulled back and forth in time. Now that I have that off my chest...The troubles of this particular protagonist, McLean Sweet, are less shocking than those in, say, Just Listen or Lock and Key, which in a way makes them hit closer to home. Each time Mclean and her father move to another town due to his consulting job, she re-invents herself - name and all. Something I think a lot of us has wanted to do. Knowing she'll have to move on, it's easier to keep people at a distance using a persona. The trouble comes when Mclean finds herself wandering into the use of her real name in this, their latest location. Instead of choosing her temporary friends via her persona, she finds that friends are choosing her. I was very entertained by Mclean's dad, who reminded me of Gordon Ramsey without the verbal abuse and swearing. Another great character was Deb, the hyperorganized, self-appointment welcoming committee at Mcleans new high school. Mclean's relationship with her mother made me wince. I mean that as a great compliment. Mother/daughter relationships (like father/son) come with built-in tension, and I think Dessen worked that to great advantage. Another excellent novel from Dessen, flashbacks notwithstanding.