About The Book:
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.
Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for review.
I’ve never read anything by Sarah Dessen before, but I’ve been wanting to read her contemporaries for a while. They looked like fun, fluffy reads, which I why I was surprised (in a good way!) by her latest release, Saint Anything. It’s a deep, heartbreaking read. It also made me really want to eat pizza.
The main character, Sidney, is living in the aftermath of her brother Peyton’s terrible decisions. He had a history of drugs and theft, but this time he has been sent the jail for drunk driving. Sidney was a great heroine. There are few main characters that make me completely emotionally invested in their stories, and Sidney was one of them. She’s intelligent, sweet…and broken. She’s struggling to understand why her parents are unable to stop fussing over her “perfect” brother, and see the consequences of his actions. I loved her character development throughout the book.
Throughout the course of Saint Anything, Sidney meets the Chathams, a family that owns a pizzeria in her town. She becomes friends with Layla Chatham and starts to fall for Layla’s brother, Mac. An element I really loved in Saint Anything is that it makes friendship between Layla and Sidney is just as prominent as the brewing romance between Mac and Sidney. I’ve read few books lately in which the main character’s friendship plays an important role in the story, and I loved seeing it in Saint Anything.
Saint Anything deals with lots of important topics–love, identify, courage, loss, family, grief, self-discovery–and does it perfectly. It can be difficult for a book to cover complicated topics like these without becoming preachy, but the author nailed it.
I can’t compare Saint Anything to any of her earlier books, but I do love Sarah Dessen’s writing. It isn’t outrageously poetic or anything, but there is something very honest about the way she writes. You feel like you’re in Sidney’s head, feeling and experiencing everything that she does. You hate the people she hates, and love the ones she cares for.
I adore the way that the people developed throughout the story. By the end, every character had changed in their own way, for better or for worse. The conclusion was in no way mind-blowing or shocking, but it was perfect for the story, and was completely satisfying.
I had never read a Sarah Dessen book before Saint Anything, but now I desperately want to read another. This book is heart-wrenching and amazing. It’s sure to be a new favourite of mine.