Review + 6 lessons from Sarah Dessen novels

Finally! I just finished reading “What Happened to Goodbye” by Sarah Dessen. In order not to spoil it I won’t get into much detail. Overall, I enjoyed the story. The main character is a girl named Mclean, she’s in her senior year. Over the last few years, since her parents divorced, she’s been moving a lot. That is because she went to live with her dad and he gets relocated frequently due to his job. In every city she would go to, she’d change her name and personality. But, this time in Lakeview, things are different. (If you’ve read Sarah’s novels, you know Lakeview is where all the drama happens). It wasn’t as romantic as some of her previous novels. Mclean does meet a guy named Dave. But she realizes many things about herself and life not only because of him, but also due to her new friends and the communication with her parents.

I have read a total of six novels by Sarah Dessen over the years. Dreamland, That Summer, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and lastly What Happened to Goodbye. Every book was different, but they did have some aspects in common. Here are 6 lessons her novels have taught me:

1. No one’s life is perfect: everyone has issues in their family and personal life, you’re not the only one.

2. Disappointment is part of the journey: perhaps even the people closest to you might end up hurting you, either intentionally or unintentionally.

3. Open yourself to others: there will always be people willing to help you, but in order to achieve this, you must be honest with your feelings and speak out.

4. Don’t judge others too quickly: every person you meet can teach you something, and sometimes the person you least expect will be the one supporting you.

5. Self-discovery does not happen overnight: it takes time to learn from experiences. As you get to know yourself better, certain things about you change, which is just part of the process.

6. Life goes on: In the end, you have to continue focusing on your next goal. Even if some things do go wrong, that doesn’t mean you should give up. Move on to the next chapter, there are better things ahead.

P.S. I know by far that she is not the best author, however, I always find the plot of her novels quite appealing. Now next on my list is “Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins.


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