Review of Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen |Fiction Friday|

This might be my favorite YA Contemporary book I’ve read this year. Also, 1000 points to anyone who counts how many times I use the word love ūüėČ


 

Synopsis

“Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and‚ÄĒlately‚ÄĒconcern. 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.”(From Goodreads)

Rating: 5/5 Crowns

Comparable Book(s):¬†I couldn’t think of any

The Review

Did I mention that I loved this book? Because I loved this book. I hope that I can accurately portray how much I freaking loved reading Saint Anything but forgive me if it turns into fangirlish squeals.

Saint Anything is the first book by Sarah Dessen that I have ever read. That’s probably really surprising since she is such a well known YA author but I always thought that her books wouldn’t appeal to me. I have no idea why I thought this, but I just figured that they’d be really shallow or annoying to me. I was sorely mistaken.

One thing that I was blown away by was the writing! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that Dessen’s writing was this great? In my opinion it’s hard to find light contemporary YA with good writing.(Not that¬†Saint Anything¬†very light, I’d say it’s in the middle.)¬†Here are just a couple of gems found in the book.

“With shame, like horseshoes, proximity counts.”

 

“You really only fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.”

 

“I’d done the right thing. I always did. It just would have been nice if someone would have noticed.”

I was also amazed that none of the characters felt flat to me. With any book there are characters that you love or hate but generally there are also characters that are boring and under developed. The only character that may have verged on the side of under developed would be Ames. I didn’t feel like I knew much about him but at the same time I didn’t want to know anything about him. What a creep.

It kind of scared me how much I related to Sydney in this book. I went in this book blind. I knew next to nothing of the plot or characters. I only knew that¬†Saint Anything was a Young Adult Contemporary novel and that, according to the back blurb, it deals with “how we might suffer the misfortune of someone else’s bad choices”. I had no idea that I would find so much in common with Sydney.

I know what it’s like to feel invisible. I know what it’s like to have a trouble maker older brother. I know what it’s like to feel like a “second place child”. My parents love me, much like Sydney’s parents love her, but both of our older brothers demand so much more attention. We get left to the way side.

Until someone else comes along in our life as sees us. For Sydney, that’s the Chatham’s.

Which brings me to another point, I love the Chatham’s. I love each of their characteristics and quirks. I love their relationships with each other. It just made me so happy that they welcomed Sydney with open arms.

Layla was just a little firecracker. I absolutely loved her incredibly fierce loyalty. She is a “take no shit” kind of a girl when it comes to protecting her friends and that’s something I really admire about her.

I also really loved Mrs. Chatham! She had a strong contrast to Julie (Sydney’s) mom. I loved how all of her children took care of her and how they were such a tight knit family.

Something else that’s interesting, for me at least, is that for once I didn’t fall for the love with the main character’s romantic interest. I liked Mac and I loved his relationship with Sydney but I guess he’s not my type. That didn’t really affect the story or experience for me but I just thought it was interesting.

As I mentioned before I really related to Sydney and I think that’s why this book was so amazing for me. It had a huge impact on me and it made me think about how I feel about my relationship with my parents and brother. (Going to get real personal for a sec – I even fought with my mom tonight with how I feel neglected because she’s always handling my brother’s issues. Later we talked about it rationally and now we have a better relationship because of it.)

So maybe if you don’t have these kinds family issues this book won’t be as amazing for you. However,¬†Saint Anything¬†really resonated with me and will be with me forever. That sounds cheesy but I mean it.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions on Saint Anything.

– Queen Celine

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Top Ten Books I Read In High School – Top Ten Tuesday

Am I the only person that enjoyed some of the assigned reading??? Probably. Anyway, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was a free choice, so I decided to do this in honor of me starting my freshman year of college!


1. The Odyssey by Homer

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
I really love Greek and Roman Mythology so i was the only person in my class who was excited to read this behemoth.

2. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
Probably the one of the weirdest books I read in high school. But it’s a Greek tragedy so that’s kind of expected.

3. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
Did I mention that I love Greek mythology? And Greece in General.

4. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
I’ve not read very many Shakespeare plays but this one is my favorite. Lady Macbeth is the best shakespeare character ever!

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
Who doesn’t like The Great Gatsby?

6. A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
Tennessee Williams is an amazing story teller. This is the best play I read in High School. It covers a lot of heavy topics but its amazing. And yes, I did read this edition with a shirtless Marlon Brando… I actually made a shirt for him by drawing over a notecard and taping it over the book cover lol.

7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
I read this book in 5th grade so technically it doesn’t count but shhhh.

8. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
I’m pretty sure that this is the only book that has ever made me cry.

9. I Never Had It Made by Jackie Robinson

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
I actually really like sports history, and I’d recommend it to anyone else who likes sports history, baseball, black history, or Jackie Robinson.

10. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
We had to read this my junior year and I thought I was going to hate it but my best friend said I would love it. She was right. Even if you have a hard time reading “olde english” type books the drama in The Crucible is very easy to see.

11. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Top Ten books I Read in High School - Top Ten Tuesday
Everyone knows that this is a really important piece of literature but it’s also really really good.

I’d love to hear all about your Top Ten Tuesday (a bookish meme hosted every Tuesday by The Broke and The Bookish). Feel free to leave your TTT down in the comments and let me know what you thought about mine!

I Got That Summertime, Summertime Madness – Book Tag

Thanks so much to Sue’s Reading Corner for Tagging me!

1. Show a book with a summery cover

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty
If that doesn’t doesn’t scream “YA Summer Romance” I don’t know what does.

2. Pick one fictional place that would be the perfect destination for vacation

Thalassinia from the Fins series

It's basically Atlantis lol.
It’s basically Atlantis

3. You’re about to go on a flight to your summer vacation, but you want to read a book that lasts for the whole flight. What novel do you choose? 

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This book is around 450 pages so I think it would last any flight.
This book is around 450 pages so I think it would last any flight.

4. You have a case of Summertime Sadness. What happy book do you pick up to shine a smile on your face?

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door
This book is super fun and cute!

5. You’re sitting at the beach all alone. Which fictional character would be your beach babe?

Captain Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles

cress
Thorne is Bae.

6. To match your ice cream, you want an icy cool sidekick! Which fictional sidekick do you pick?

Iko from The Lunar Chronicles

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Iko is also Bae

7. Share the Summertime Happiness! Who do you TAG?

Anyone who wants to do this tag! I’m sure most of you already have since it’s already September but if you haven’t done it I tag you!

Life Update – I’m Starting College!!!

Well, actually I’m typing this ahead of time because I know that I will be overwhelmed but as you are reading this I’m currently either moving in my dorm or at orientation!

I just wanted to let you know that I’m starting my freshman year of art school this month so my posts will probably be less frequent and less consistent. I’m not dead, I’m not abandoning my blog, I’m just working my butt off at school and passing out from exhaustion.

I’m doing my best to create a stock pile of posts so that I can hopefully put out content but I’m only human. So if you guys can just stick with me even thought I’m not going to be popping up on your feeds all the time, that would mean a lot to me!

Alright, that’s all! I’d love to hear about your life updates for those of you heading back to school/university. Also any time management advice is greatly appreciated.

Top Ten Finished Series That I Have Yet To Finish – Top Ten Tuesday

I have a lot of unfinished series but don’t we all? No? Oh, okay…


1. Mara Dyer Trilogy

Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
I read the first book in the Mara Dyer series and I loved it. I’m just waiting until my local Half Price Books has the paper back versions of the last two books so I can finish the Trilogy.

2. Uglies Series

Uglies
I read Uglies and Pretties last year, but I never got around to Specials or Extras. I own all of the books, I just haven’t felt like reading them.

3. Divergent Series

divergent
Loved Divergent, but I was only able to read the first couple of pages of Insurgent before I put it down. And then someone spoiled the ending of Allegiant for me so I found no point in continuing the series.

4. Matched Trilogy

Matched
THIS WAS A STUPID BOOK. I read a couple pages of Crossed before I gave up and sold it. I will not finish this series.

5. The Clique Series

The Clique
I devoured these books when I was in middle school, but I think I only made it to the 7th book before I outgrew it. If I were to find the entire series at a thrift store or garage sale, I might buy and finish them for the nostalgia.

6. Gallagher Girls Series

id tell you ily but then i'd have to kill you
I read the first book my freshman year of highschool and I only read half of the second book. I won’t be coming back to it (unless I were to find the whole series for cheap, like I said with The Clique Series)

7. The Tiger Saga

Tiger's Curse
At the time that I read Tiger’s Curse I was obsessed with it but when I got around to reading the sequel, I had outgrown it. I will not be finishing it. (Edit: I guess the last book in the series hasn’t come out yet, as the date has been pushed back many times but let’s just pretend it’s a finished series.)

8. Fins Series

Forgive my fins
This book series is very lighthearted and shallow, but the first book was a bit of a guilty pleasure. I’m not dying to read the rest of the Fins series but I might come back to it.

9. Crank Trilogy

Crank
Crank was the first Ellen Hopkins book I ever read but I didn’t feel it necessary to read the entire Crank trilogy. I won’t be coming back it.

10. The Elysium Chronicles

Renegade
I bought the first book on my Ipad because it was really inexpensive and now I know why. I won’t be finishing the Elysium Chronicles. The first book had potential but was ruined by flat characters and bad writing.

I’d love to hear all about your Top Ten Tuesday (a bookish meme hosted every Tuesday by The Broke and The Bookish). Feel free to leave your TTT down in the comments and let me know what you thought about mine!

Why I Don’t Feel Guilty For Lowering My 2015 Reading Goal |Fiction Friday – Discussion|

Reading Goals can be really encouraging and effective. They can make you read something that would normally be out of your comfort zone ‚ÄĒ a graphic novel, biography, etc. However they can also put a lot of pressure on readers to focus more on quantity than quality.

In 2014 my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal was to read 15 books. I was just getting back into using Goodreads so I didn’t want to be too ambitious. I don’t know how but I was able to read 31 books! It’s kind of nice to be able to look back and see that I surpassed my goal. I’m very proud of it.

Flash forward to 2015 when I decided that if I was able to 31 books last year then I could definitely read 35 this year. I was wrong. It’s August and I’ve only read 19 books. I’m going off to my first year off college next week (EEEEP!!!) and I know I won’t have much reading time. So, every time I logged onto Goodreads I would be reminded of the fact that I was three books behind schedule or¬†four books behind schedule. How daunting. It was starting to feel like no matter how much I read, I wouldn’t be able to catch up before school starts. I felt like I was failing.

I struggle with anxiety and depression, and reading is one of my coping mechanisms. I just like to run away and read my books. But¬†stupid¬†unnecessary reminders telling my that I’m falling behind make me more anxious and so I read less.

Today, it dawned on me that I could lower my 2015 Reading Challenge goal and it would be an instant relief. So that’s precisely what I’ve done. Now my, much more manageable, goal is 25 books. Some may see it as “quitting” but I’d rather have an easier goal than a crappy reading experience. I believe that as long as your goal still pushed yourself, than you’re not “quitting” or “giving up”.

To those of you who are falling behind on your reading goals, don’t be afraid to lower the number a bit. Everything will be okay, I promise! There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to read. It’s your¬†reading challenge, do what ever you want with it. And remember that just because you read 50 or 100 or 1,000 books last year it doesn’t mean you have to read that many (or more) this year. We all have lives to lead, and sometimes personal stuff takes up reading time. 2015 marked the end of my High School career, so I was far too busy prepping for college and studying for exams to keep up with my reading goals.

How do you guys feel about reading goals? Do you think they can be good, bad or both? Let me know in the comments!

– Queen Celine

Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With- Top Ten Tuesday

Characters I Didn’t Click With

1. Literally Every Character in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations

2. Kyle Kingsbury from Beastly by Alex Flinn

beastly

3. Matthew Turner from Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Rumble

4. Every Character in Fendi, Ferragamo, and Fangs by Julie Kenner

Fendi Ferragamo and Fangs

5. Vanessa from The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

6. Duncan from The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban

the tragedy paper
Sensing a theme?

7. Gavin Hunter from Renagade by J.A. Souders

Renegade

8. Daniel bar Jamin from The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

The Bronze Bow

9. Eric from Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinterblood is very complex so, let's just say that I didn't connect with Eric sometimes...
Midwinterblood is very complex so, let’s just say that I didn’t connect with Eric sometimes…

10. Clay Jensen from Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

13 Reasons why

I would love to hear about all of your picks for this Top Ten Tuesday (a bookish meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).