When I was teaching middle school, I relied on my students for good book recommendations. Every time I read another wonderful novel by Sarah Dessen, I say thank you to Colleen. Hopefully, I'll see Colleen's name on a book someday: she is just one of the many vibrant teen writers I had the good fortune to teach before my career focus shifted toward my own writing.
What Happened to Goodbye has all the hallmarks that make Dessen a teen favorite: abandonment issues, a charming but misunderstood boy, and a heroine who is struggling to find herself. Mclean has reinvented herself every time she's moved since her parents divorce: in one school, she was Beth, the social activist. In another, she was Lisbet, the drama queen. When Mclean winds up without a pseudonym, she realizes that this town might mean more to her than the others. She tries to remain detached, but the friends she makes insist on loving her, warts and all.
And then there's Dave. The brilliant, kind, boy-next-door who is also in the process of reinventing himself. Mclean can't help but fall for him, but she never stays anywhere very long. Will she just leave another trail of broken friendships when she finally moves on?
I don't often read realistic fiction, but when I find a good author, I keep coming back. Mclean is a genuine character, and I wept and smiled in turns as she began to define herself. A great read for anyone who likes coming-of-age stories, no matter your age.
Wander over and support the other 100 Books participants: we're almost at the halfway point of the year!
Who introduced you to a great author for the first time? Have you ever thanked that person?