Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Published On: May 5th 2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Every time I find out Sarah Dessen is releasing a new book I freak out and get super excited… but of course these announcements are always wayyy too early and by the time the book is released I forget because clearly my memory is a mess.
If you guys remember the giveaway we hosted a few weeks ago, the winner, Anjanette, choose Saint Anything as the prize, and it fortunately reminded me that I also wanted to read this book. (Anjanette, if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book! :D)
Sarah Dessen has a way of creating an entire world in less than 500 pages, which is something that you usually feel more of in a fantasy/etc book, where the world is different than the one in which the reader lives. But in contemporary, making the reader feel like they’ve stepped into the life, or world, of another character is the absolute goal, and Dessen hasn’t failed me yet.
The main reason why I love Sarah Dessen’s books so much is because they are always very inclusive of the lives she writes about. She doesn’t just write a romance between two characters, or about family relationships, or about particular issues; instead she writes about all of them and it all melds together in such a natural way that the characters feel incredibly real.
On the back of the book, there’s a comment from Jodi Picoult, and it says, “Is there anyone who can write about what matters most to teens as well as Dessen can? I sincerely doubt it.” I feel like this quote pretty much sums up how I feel about Dessen’s work as well, but I believe it can appeal to more than just teens, as it should.
That’s what I loved about Saint Anything. Sydney, the protagonist, is suffering the guilt of her brother’s mistakes, and it’s caused turmoil in every aspect of her life: school, friends, and family.
Her parents are blind to anything she does, until she starts pulling away from the quiet girl she used to be and finally makes them see her. Unfortunately, even after she catches their attention, its tainted by the actions of her brother, as her parents’ can’t seem to see her without her being masked by the shadow of her brother’s mistakes.
Then there’s her new friends at Jackson High, a school most of Dessen’s readers will recognize, who show Sydney that she’s not as invisible as she thinks. Layla is a strong personality with a lot of romantic troubles, and she becomes an amazing friend to Sydney. However, it’s Mac, Layla’s brother, who Sydney falls in love with. They were adorable together, and even before any romance blossomed, their friendship was beautiful and very fun to read about.
I love how authentic the relationships in Saint Anything are and how they’re more than just fluff to fill up the plot – they actually feel crucial to the plot and to the main character. Saint Anything really draws you in and makes you care deeply for the characters.
Saint Anything is a lovely book with adorable characters that you will
probably love. If you enjoy contemporary books, Saint Anything is one you definitely should not miss!