Sarah Dessen writes young-adult novels very well, with feeling and veracity and What Happened to Goodbye is on par with all her previous efforts (that I have read). Mclean is our main character, an independent and self-sufficient teenager that lives solely with her father after her mother cheated on their marriage. Since her mother and father's acrimonious divorce, Mclean has moved towns multiple times with her restaurant-fixing father, often adopting (and subsequently shedding) different versions of herself to play for each town. Dessen utterly nails the inner emotions and silent turmoil this troubled girl is experiencing: Mclean is a study in withdrawal and hidden pain. Familiar character types appear: the stalwart best friend, the intriguing love interest, the resented parent figure (this time the mother) but each with unique twists and traits to distinguish from both each other and past Dessen characters. Deb, the squirrely and unpopular yet utterly awesome best friend Mclean meets at her new school was constantly surprising me with different, random aspects of her personality. Portrayed as a bookish, uber-nerd, the revelation that Deb is a "metal screamo drummer" and tattoo enthusiast only increased my affection for this varied cast. Dessen's plots may tend a bit towards formulaic and recycled, but it is her fresh, fun characters that draw me back time and time again. Incorporating past figures (oh hey Jason from The Truth About Forever - glad to see you've matured up a bit! and Gervais from Lock and Key!) and new soon-to-be-loved ones like Deb and Opal.Read the rest of this review right here!