Friday, June 5, 2015

Novel Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads 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—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.

The Cover:

I really like this cover. It's simple, very pretty, at least a little eye-catching. I like that the image does actually represent something in the book, though I think maybe they could have found something better to represent it as a whole. But it is pretty, and it works. I like it.


  • "That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.” (Hardback, pg. 3)
  • "Nobody was all bad, I was learning. Even the worst person had someone who cared about them at some point.” (Pg. 130)
  • "That was just it. You never knew what lay ahead; the future was the one thing that could never be broken, because it had not yet had the chance to be anything.” (Pg. 413)


It should be no surprise that I loved this book. I went in knowing that I would, with no doubt of it being amazing. I’ve loved all of Dessen’s books at this point, and she can do no wrong.
This is one of the first books that took me like a week to read, though. Usually they’re done in a day, but sadly work got in my way, over and over again.
This is about Sydney, who’s always felt invisible, especially next to her older brother. He’s always the center of attention, even when he got in trouble. And then he did something really bad, and suddenly Sydney’s getting more attention. She changes schools, distances herself from her friends, and stumbles upon some new ones.
I liked Sydney. I understood her struggle, why she gave into her parents so much and why she wanted to fight them, and why she chose to fight when she did. I understood her feelings of guilt and anger, and I really liked when she finally found people who really saw her and liked her.
Her parents were really frustrating, ignoring her and then trying to decide everything for her. It drove me insane the way her mother acted about what her brother did, but I liked how he finally did something about it, and how that let him and Sydney form a relationship again. They frustrated me so much, but especially because I understand it and know how realistic that is. They’re complex characters, and they did what they thought they should. Then there’s Ames, who is creepy and won’t leave, and finally gets what he deserves, thankfully.
I loved the Chatham’s, and her new friends. They’re definitely a Dessen-made family. Sydney found a very good friend there, Layla, and she also found Mac, who is so sweet. He’s quiet and observant, and he sees Sydney. He’s exactly what Sydney needs, and I really enjoyed their friendship and then romance as it grew. I liked how it was subtle and slow, but apparent and then so important to them both.
I love the balance that Dessen creates. There’s friendship, there’s family struggles and attention, there’s romance, there’s finding out who you really are among all these things. 
I don’t know if this one stands out the most of her books, as I definitely have favorites, but it’s definitely worth it, and it will be one I’ll re-read. I loved it, like I love all of her books. And I will be waiting eagerly for her next one.

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