There's just something about Sarah Dessen. She definitely has a format to her writing, but it's a format that works for her. The last book I read of hers was Along for the Ride I couldn't help but noticed some of the similarities between that book and What Happened to Goodbye.
First you have the new girl, this is the girl that comes to a town she's never been before and tries to assimilate herself. The difference is that McClean tries to hide her true identity. Second you have the all-knowing boy. This is the boy that the girl finds herself attracted to and learns from him. She fights the attraction at first but then she accepts it and goes with the flow. In the end this relationship is what changes her, it's what makes her a better version of herself.
Next are the random friends. These are the group of kids that she finds herself enjoying their company. These friends show her a life outside of being a loner. They show her that true friendship has meaning. Last are the parents. There's the father. This father is sort of a loner to the girl but she truly loves the father and really wants to make it work. Then there's the mother. In both instances the mother is the outsider to the daughter. The relationship is turbulent, but in the end the daughter learns to accept her mother, to love her mother for who she is.
In the end it becomes a little predictable, but what draws you into it is the nostalgia of it. Being an adult reading the young adult novel, it brings me back to my high school years to my teenage years and it makes me smile. This is why I think this formula works.
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