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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen [Book Review]

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
ISBN: 0451474708
Release Date: May 5th 
Source: From Publisher for honest review.
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. 
It's no secret that I adore Sarah Dessen. I don't think there is a Sarah Dessen book that I've met that I didn't like. It's gotten to the point where it's just a thing, Sarah Dessen writes something and I love it. It's cause and effect, and it just makes sense. Saint Anything was no different it has cemented this fact in my mind even more.

This title has been labeled as dark for Dessen, and while I understand this comparison, I don't think it can be labeled as "dark" because it isn't... at least not really. This title deals with some tough issues, but I don't think it is any darker than Dreamland or Just Listen. It feels more adult in the handling, but it is still very much a fantastic contemporary YA.

Saint Anything focuses around our heroine, Sydney and the life she lives after her older brother, Peyton, gets sent to prison. Sydney is incredibly relatable, anyone who has ever felt alone will experience some degree of Sydney's emotions. While Sydney attempts to maneuver her way into a new school and new life she is faced with problems that no high schooler should experience, but most do. Sydney feels alone, and that her parents aren't don't understand her, or rather fail to see her at all.

Sydney's story grips you from page one; I loved her world and I wanted to spend more time with her. Sydney's emotions are expressed so wonderfully in this book that I felt as if I was a part of her story, or I had experienced her story before. And maybe to some degree I had. Maybe to some degree we all have.

This book focuses less on the romantic aspect than some of Dessen's other titles, but the romance is still there. I actually appreciated the focus on Sydney's story rather than the focus on Sydney's relationship status. The relationship between Sydney and her family was enthralling and I found it to be pretty powerful.

The new friends Sydney experiences act as a release from her life at home -- something that reminded me a lot of The Truth About Forever and Wish Catering. Just as i enjoyed the people of Wish, the people at Seaside Pizza were pretty great.

This book was very layered, with various themes and focuses, and in the end it was another example of Sarah Dessen's fantastic storytelling skills.

Overall: Saint Anything is wonderful. If you're a fan of Sarah Dessen's previous books or of contemporaries, this book cannot be missed. The ending left me hoping and happy, and in the end that's the most important thing. For anyone who has ever felt alone, this book is for you.


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