Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Posted January 18, 2016 by Ely in Reviews / 2 Comments

Saint Anything Book Cover Saint Anything
Sarah Dessen
YA Contemporary
Penguin Teen Australia
May 5th 2015

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 received a copy of this book off NetGalley, this has not affected my opinion of the book in any way.

Sarah Dessen is one of those authors that I can sort of guess what I’m going to get when I start one of my books. Maybe it’s because I’d read four of her other books before this one, or maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever it was, I started Saint Anything knowing exactly what to expect—some family drama, a few dark moments, and some cutesy romance. That’s exactly what I got too. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Despite the formula to Sarah Dessen’s books, she always manages to tell a different story with each of her books, or at least the ones I’ve read.

This one focuses on Sydney’s whose older brother, Peyton, is in prison after a drunk driving incident. It looks a lot at the guilt Sydney feels for the victim of her brother’s accident, and how that affects her life and the family dynamic. While it’s mentioned a lot, I wish we could have seen a bit more of the backlash and of Peyton rather than just being told what had/was happening. I think it would have been really interesting to see some more interaction between Sydney and Peyton as someone whose had a sort of bumpy relationship with my own older brother. Though, thankfully he’s not in prison.

On things I’d have liked to have seen more of—I wish we got to see more of Sydney’s relationship with Mac and Layla. Just like with the Peyton thing, it was like I was being told that they were great friends and a couple rather than actually seeing them blossom into that. It might be a weird thing, but I really like seeing friendships obviously grow and strengthen within books. It just felt like I was supposed to know they were best friends without really seeing that in play.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Saint Anything but I’m still feeling a little mixed about it.


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2 responses to “Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

  1. I wasn’t a huge fan of Saint Anything either, I ended up enjoying the beginning and really disliking the second half, and for a long time I had mixed feelings about it. 🙁 Among other things, I also thought that the book should’ve been more focused on Sydney instead of the whole Peyton issue. Sorry to hear you didn’t like it! Hope your next read is better 🙂