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 😉
“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.”(From Goodreads)
Rating: 5/5 Crowns
Comparable Book(s): I couldn’t think of any
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