Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Published: 2011
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Amazon • Goodreads

What is What Happened to Goodbye about?

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.

Combining Sarah Dessen's trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

My Thoughts:

Like pretty much all of Sarah Dessen’s books, I found myself sucked right into the story.  Mclean is very easy to relate to and a likeable character.  You feel really bad for her – having to move around all of the time and never really having steady friends.  The sad part is, Mclean partially brings this on herself.  She purposefully doesn’t get too close to anyone so that when she has to leave, it won’t be that big of a deal.  One day, she just moves and never tells anyone.  Which is just sad. 

I really loved how much Mclean develops in this area.  Over the course of the book, she makes some really great friends and builds strong relationships.  She forms a bond with Riley, Heather, Dave and Deb and it’s so nice for Mclean to have real friends that she can be herself around.  Mclean learns that she doesn’t have to push everyone away.  She beings working on a community service project for Opal (her Father’s co-worker), and it really helps her to have something to focus on and it brings her and her friends closer.  I also really loved everyone at the restaurant where her dad works. 

I’ve talked about friendships in YA on this blog before, and I LOVED the friendships in this book.  Seeing Mclean develop this strong support system was great.  I love watching how, over time, it began to feel like home for Mclean.  Mclean and Dave were so cute together and I was rooting for them the whole time. 

Another aspect of this book that I really liked was the relationship between Mclean and her mom.  Basically, her mom cheated on her dad and left for someone else.  So, since her parent’s divorce, Mclean barely talks to her mother and is very resentful and bitter towards her.  Which is understandable.  In Mclean’s situation, I would be the exact same way.  Despite her mother’s constant attempts to reach out to her, Mclean just wants nothing to do with her.  This is another big area of character development for Mclean.  I loved seeing how, even though it was hard, she was willing to try to make amends with her mother.  It was hard for both of them, and both of them discover that maybe they need to be a bit more understanding.

I just love how amazingly Sarah Dessen develops her characters.  In the beginning of the novel, there are definite problems and obstacles that the character needs to overcome.  By the end of the novel, you can see 100% how much the character has changed and developed in those areas.  It gives you such a nice feeling of contentment and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.  


Final Thoughts:
Sarah Dessen’s books always make you feel good and have strong messages that leave you thinking.   What Happened to Goodbye was no exception.  I loved this book so much and I will definitely by picking up another Sarah Dessen book very soon.  If you like YA contemporary and you haven’t read Sarah Dessen, what are you waiting for? 


Have you read What Happened to Goodbye?  What were your thoughts?  Have you ever read any Sarah Dessen books?  If so, what is your favorite?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #3

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine that spotlights an upcoming release that you are anticipating.
This week, I’m most anticipating Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen  

Publish Date: May 5th 2015     
Genres: Contemporary

What is Saint Anything about?

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Why am I waiting for Saint Anything?

Sarah Dessen’s books were probably the first YA Contemporary novels I’d ever read.  I just have a special place for them.  I love Sarah Dessen’s writing – she makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  However, Sarah Dessen’s books still always have strong messages that really leave you thinking.  You get so absorbed and invested in the story and characters. All of her main characters always go through so much character development over the course of the novel.  Her books leave you with a satisfied and content feeling, and I have no doubt that Saint Anything will do the same.

What are you waiting for?  Have you read any Sarah Dessen books?  Have you read Saint Anything yet?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Platonic Relationships

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish.
This week’s topic is…  Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____
This week was kind of a freebie, so I got to choose my own.  I decided to highlight female protagonists who have platonic relationships with guys.  I feel like in YA (and society in general) it is portrayed that girls and guys can’t be just friends.  However, there have been a couple of books that I’ve read that really show strong friendships between a girl and a guy.  And it’s wonderful – YA needs more books like that.  Keep in mind: just because the protagonist meets a guy that she doesn’t fall in love with, it doesn’t mean that they are a great example of friendship.  In this list, I will be showcasing girl/guy friendships that I LOVED and played an important role in the story and the lives of the characters.  Unfortunately, that means this is not a very long list.  So, now I bring you…

Top Ten Female Characters who have great platonic relationships with men

Juliette and Kenji from the Shatter Me series
Juliette and Kenji are one of my favorite male/female friendships.  Their friendship grows throughout the series, and is really best displayed in Ignite Me.  Kenji stands up for Juliette, he believes in her, and he is there for her when she needs someone to talk to.  He supports her.  Juliette, despite the goings on, is willing to do pretty much anything to get Kenji to join her.  Kenji is her best friend – and she doesn’t want to fight without him.  Their friendship was so beautiful in this book.  (That was me trying not to be spoilery)

Yelena and Ari & Janco from the Study Series

I really love the friendship that Yelena forms with Ari and Janco in Poison Study.  Their friendship is formed quite by accident, but develops quickly.  They teach Yelena and help her with so many things.  Ari and Janco act as older brothers to Yelena.  When she is sick, they watch over her.  If someone hurts Yelena, they are willing to hunt that person down.  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series and see how their friendship progresses. 

Aria and Roar from the Under The Never Sky series

I love Aria and Roar’s friendship.  This is, once again another example of a wonderful brotherly/sisterly relationship.  I feel like their friendship really develops a lot in Through The Ever Night, which is the second book in the series, and also my favorite.  Roar always stands up for Aria, when the majority of the other people in the tribe don’t like her.  Aria and Roar go through a lot together in this book.  When Roar faces a devastating loss, Aria helps him through it.  They go on a journey together, which really brings them closer - all by themselves and away from Aria’s boyfriend, and Roar’s best friend, Perry.  Not once do they think that they might have feelings for each other.  Neither of them ever wavers. It’s so nice to read about a relationship where the girl doesn’t fall in love with the guy just because he’s nice to her or they spend a lot of time together.  Aria and Roar were my first platonic ship and I love them so much,

Grace and Noah from the Embassy Row series

Grace and Noah are the newest ones to this list, as All Fall Down just came out in January.  I loved Grace and Noah’s friendship from the start.  From the minute Noah strolls right in to Grace’s life and declares that he is there to be her best friend. (Literally.  That is what he does.) Noah is always more than happy to be Grace’s partner in crime.  He is always ready to help Grace with pretty much anything at the drop of a hat (even things that may technically be illegal)  Noah is there for Grace at just the time when she really needs him.  They are just adorable together – without being romantic at all.

So, as you can see, there aren’t nearly enough great girl/boy friendships in YA.  This is something that I feel really strongly about and wanted to point out in this top 10.  It really is a wonderful thing when an author does that, and it’s something that should be included more.  
Do you know of any books with a great platonic relationship between a girl and a guy that I might not have included?  I am always looking for more books featuring them.  Leave any recommendations in the comments!  


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up #2

This week, I’m linking up with Stacking The Shelves, and Sunday Post.  Go check them out!

What happened on the blog this week?

Monday: Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

 I adored Poison Study and I have no doubt that Maria V. Snyder will soon become one of my favorite authors. 

Tuesday: Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Authors

 This was one of the most difficult prompts ever.  But I did it!  

Wednesday: Waiting On Wednesday #2

 This week I shared my excitement for A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, coming out May 5th


Thursday: Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

 Splintered was great and surprised me – in a good way.  Wonderful retelling with lots of action and great characters!


Friday:  Discussion: Friendships in YA

I discussed friendships in YA and how they are under displayed.  There needs to be more YA books with strong friendships.  I also recommend and highlight a couple of books with good friendships that I’ve found.

What new books did I get this week?
This week, I bought two new books.  I got these books at a Maria V. Snyder signing that I went to

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder:

 This is the continuation of the Poison Study series.  The order is confusing, but to my knowledge, Shadow Study is the fourth Poison Study book.  Anyways, the cover is beautiful and I can’t wait to read it.

Inside: Inside Out\Outside In

This is a new bind up of Maria V. Snyder’s Inside Duology.  I’ve never read it before, and I’ve been wanting to check it out.  Plus, this was basically two books for the price of one. 

What books did I read this week?
Get ready for it…I only read ONE book this week.  It just keeps getting worse. *bows head in shame*

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

I felt like I needed a contemporary book after the intense books I read last week.  This book was great and light and fun, but at the same time really makes you think.  Great summer read!

Hopefully, I’ll have read more books by next week, as I’m currently read about 4.  How do you find enough time for reading and blogging?  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Discussion: Friendships in YA

Today, we’re discussing Friendships in Young Adult literature.
This is a subject that I’ve always felt strongly about.  I, however, have read a few books recently that really made me want to talk about it.

What types of friendships do we usually see in YA?
I feel like there are very few YA books that focus on or show strong friendships.  In contemporary novels, there is usually a best friend, but they are almost always just a background character.  The friend will have nothing to do with the actual plot, and won’t help with the character development of the main character.  A lot of times, they are just thrown in there for the sake of being there, but they aren’t real characters.  In Dystopian books, It seems like there usually isn’t a best friend.  Even finding groups of friends is difficult.  Because in Dystopian, it is usually the man character against the world (oh, and don’t forget the love interest).  

What types of friendships do I want to see in YA?
I want to see friendship being emphasized and portrayed in Young Adult books more.  I want to see books where the characters rely on their friends for help and support, where the friends are an essential part of the story.  I want to see books with strong themes of friendship, and where friendship is not portrayed unrealistically. 

This discussion was partly inspired and brought on by Ally Carter’s newest book, All Fall Down.  But, honestly, all of Ally Carter’s books do a magnificent job of emphasizing friendship.  I’ve been reading Carter’s books for a long time, and that is something that I’ve always appreciated in them.  In all of her series, there is a group of friends that come together to solve a problem or overcome an obstacle. 

In Gallagher Girls, Cammie has a strong support system of friends.  At the Gallagher Academy, they all view each other as sisters.  However, Cammie is particularly close to her roommates, Bex, Liz, and Macey.  The series, honestly, could not have gone on without them. They are an essential part of the story.  They are always there when Cammie need them.  You feel like you know them just as well as you know the main character, Cammie,

In Heist Society, Kat has her “crew”, and without them, once again, the series wouldn’t be possible.  Both Heist Society and Gallagher Girls also do a great job of showing teamwork.  You can’t go on a mission or a heist all by yourself – you need friends, a team, people you can trust.

All Fall Down, again, followed this pattern.  Grace is going through a lot of things in the book, and she needs friends.  Noah is always there for Grace when she needs him.  She also has Rosie and Megan, and together they help Grace with her (sometimes) crazy missions.  This is another example of a story that, once again, would not be the same (or even possible) without the friends. 

Another great YA book about friendship is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson.  This book is really about friendship, and I loved it.  Not only Emily and Sloane’s friendship, but watching Emily branch out and discover things about herself, and make new friends (like Frank) was so amazing.  This was one of the best contemporary novels I’ve read in a long time, and it really touched me.  I felt like I could really relate to it.  Sometimes, when you read a book it just hits you – and you weren’t expecting it.  I LOVE the friendship in this book and all of the strong messages.  It really gets you thinking.

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen is also a great book containing friendship.  The main character, Mclean, moves around a lot because of her dad’s job.  Therefore, she never really gets to form close relationships or friendships with anyone.  This book really delves into that, as Mclean grows to love the current town she’s in and make several really close friends.  Sarah Dessen’s books always make you feel good and have strong messages that leave you thinking.  The protagonists are always dealing with a lot of problems, and you get to see them develop and come to terms with things. 

I didn’t even really delve into platonic girl-boy friendships or the strong friendships in Rick Riordan books.  But, those are all discussions for another day.   So, in conclusion, I think more YA books need to feature friends as important characters in the book and showcase strong friendships like these.

Books I talked about today:

I’d Tell You That I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter 

Heist Society by Ally Carter                                                                                       Amazon • Goodreads

All Fall Down by Ally Carter  

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson                                              Amazon • Goodreads

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What are your opinions on friendships in YA?  Are they the same or different from mine?  Do you have any recommendations of YA books with strong friendships?  Let me know!