Author: Sarah Dessen
Genres: YA, Contemporary
‘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.’
I am so so glad that I decided to pick up my first Sarah Dessen book, because it was wonderful and I’m sure I’ll read a lot more of her books in the future.
Saint Anything is about a girl named Sydney, whose brother Peyton has always been the center of attention in her family, her school, and basically everywhere. Lately, that (mostly positive) attention has turned into concern, because Peyton has been getting into a lot of trouble and has to go to jail for a drunk driving accident. While her brother is locked up and seems to be the only thing on her parents’ mind, Sydney feels invisible.
Then, she meets the Chathams, a warm and chaotic family who run a pizza joint, and take care of their mother who has MS. While spending time with them, Syndney finally feels seen and accepted. Here she meets Mac, a guy who finally makes her feel like she belongs somewhere.
While Saint Anything was a pleasant and fun read, I definitely didn’t love it. However, I did love Sarah Dessen’s writing, and I can definitely see why so many people love her, and I’m sure I’ll one day belong to that group. The narrative feels very simple, but it still draws you in and doesn’t let you go. It isn’t too much, and it doesn’t try to shock you with the events that happened, but it simply tells you a story. And it was lovely.
The main character Sydney is definitely one of the reasons why I felt so drawn to this book. She felt so real, and I felt very connected to her. The other reason is the whole family aspect of Saint Anything. I usually love books with family aspects, but this one felt different. Better, somehow. Even though Sydney’s parents definitely neglect her, their family bond feels very strong. And the Catcham family was just wonderful! Their family, and the scenes that took place in their house, made me feel very warm and cozy. Mrs. Catcham was easily my favorite character.
Even though this story had a few very strong points, it also had some weaker ones. One of those was definitely the relationship between Sydney and her love interest Mac. It didn’t make me feel anything, and it felt very boring. There was no real spark, and Mac was just, well, plain. I also didn’t like how the ‘overly-protective-mother’ aspect of the story was dragged out. It felt a little too much, and a little bit too dramatic. It frustrated me a lot.
While Saint Anything definitely wasn’t perfect, I still really really liked it, and find myself thinking about the characters often. I can’t wait to read another one of Sarah’s books!