Book Rambling: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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Title: Saint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Publication: May 5, 2015

Rating: ★★★★1/2


Goodreads Summary:

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


Review:

Sarah Dessen never disappoints, especially in her newest novel Saint Anything.  This book was more than just another contemporary.  As someone who prefers fantasy/sci-fi to contemporary, I was really impressed with this novel.  The main character, Sydney, is very relatable, and her friendship with Layla is one of the best girl friendships I’ve read.  The eclectic cast of characters are all unique yet come together in a cohesive manner. Furthermore, I loved how the book dealt with extremely real issues: family, illness, friendship, and love.  It is so much deeper than a typical contemporary love story.

I adored most of the characters, and every single one of them has so much depth.  I began to empathize with Sydney from the beginning and watching her go on this journey of self-discovery was amazing.  Her friendships with the band and Layla were all so heart-warming.  Also, Mrs. Chatham was a wonderful guide to Sydney’s journey, providing wisdom and insight when Sydney most needed it.

The evolution of Sydney’s relationship with her brother was one of my favorite things to read.  It gave me so much hope to see them working out their differences and beginning to understand each other more.  Sarah Dessen also managed to write the perfect “creepy” character in Ames.  From the beginning, I always got an uneasy feeling when he was around; it was wonderful to see Sydney overcome that.

Sydney and Mac’s relationship was also very enjoyable to read.  The little instances with the pizza and the saints showed their chemistry and understanding for each other and they’ve become one of my favorite couples in literature.  I loved how Sydney and Layla also had their own tradition together with the root beer and cotton candy/bubblegum lollipops; it furthermore showcased their friendship.

I am also glad that Sydney never threw away her old friends.  The way their relationship panned out was very realistic. It showed that in life, friends grow apart especially when they go to different schools, but there will always be a bond.  I loved all the different relationships and friendships in this book.

Furthermore, the ending of this book was marvelous.  However, I want more.  I want to know what happens when she visits the Ibarras since that conflict was an overarching problem throughout the entire novel.  But, I really enjoyed how it ended because it gives the readers a sense of hope, and we can imagine that although it will be hard for Sydney and the Ibarras, it will work out in the end.

Sarah Dessen has written an extremely heart-warming novel that I think everyone should read.  It deals with so many important themes and cannot help but affect my emotions.

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