Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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. (taken from

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

Sarah Dessen is quite possibly one of the biggest realistic fiction/young adult authors of our time period. Known for her poignant tales of self-discovery and adolescence, Dessen has a knack for tapping into the innermost thoughts of her teenage audience through her lovable assortments of characters. 

Before picking up Saint Anything, I read many reviews that praised Dessen's latest work of genius, saying it was potentially her best novel yet. This definitely set the bar a little high. After reading well-loved novels like The Truth About Forever and Someone Like You, I already expected to enjoy this one. I'm pleased to say that Dessen didn't disappoint. 

With any Dessen novel, you kind of know what to expect as soon as you turn the first page. Sydney is your classic insecure teenage protagonist, and as the story progresses, her character evolves. Saint Anything is truly a tale of learning to speak up for yourself, as well as one of forgiveness. It tackles heavy topics, from drunk driving to dealing with depression and heartbreak. As always, Dessen broaches these topics with her usual tact and lovely wording. 

I breezed through Saint Anything in less than a few days. It wasn't difficult to love with characters like Layla and Mac tagging along with Sydney. That's what I adore about Dessen's novels: even her minor characters are well-developed and deep. 

Although Saint Anything didn't blow me away, it was a wonderful way to start my summer reading. A perfect balance of serious and light-hearted topics, the book made a great plane companion on my latest trip. I'd definitely recommend it to any of Dessen's fans, as well as lovers of realistic fiction in general.