Book Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Released: May 5th 2015
Review Source: Viking Juvenile

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.

One thing is for sure, I am late to the Sarah Dessen game. This is my first book by Dessen and it definitely won’t be my last.

Saint Anything follows Sydney, a high school student whose life has always been in the shadow of her older brother. Even when Peyton, Sydney’s brother, becomes reckless and ends up in jail for a horrific accident she still sits in the shadow of him. Saint Anything is Sydney’s journey of acceptance, family, and love.

After Peyton ends up in jail, Sydney decides to switch schools, become her own person, or at least not be known only as Peyton’s little sister anymore. She needs to be somewhere where the whispers aren’t about her family and her brother. That’s where she meets the Chatham family, Mac and Layla, who quickly become best friends of Sydney’s. Mac and Layla truly bring out the best in Sydney, they crack the exterior. Layla is someone Sydney can talk to about her brother, and not have preconceived notions toward him, she can freely speak of how angry she is and not be disregarded for it.

I felt a lot of emotions while reading this book, it brought out anger, happiness, and sorrow. I was sad over how much Sydney was blown off by her parents, I was angry right along with her over her brother and his destructive path, and I was happy over how much greatness the entire Chatham family brought out of Sydney.Saint Anything had everything you’d want in this kind of contemporary story, self-discovery, family growth, romance, friendship, and acceptance. This was truly a beautiful read and I wish I could reread it again for the first time, but since I can’t do that I’ll just go pick up some of Dessen’s other books.

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