Saint Anything - Sarah Dessen

Sydney has always felt invisible. She's grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world.

Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last.

Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.

 

I didn't ever want to put this book down because the characters felt like friends and I wanted to keep reading about their lives.

 

Sydney was so much fun to read about. She was self-assured and confident but her hesitance and selflessness made her incredibly easy to feel a kinship with. She transfers high schools at the beginning, partially due to her parents' changing financial situation which made her a good one right off the bat.

 

She quickly falls into a group of friends, each with their own fun personalities, yet maintains her friendship with a couple of her old classmates. At the same time, she interacts with her brother Peyton, currently in jail; his best friend, who is creepy off the bat but adored by Sydney's parents; and her mother, lost now that her family isn't model perfect.

 

The relationships in this book were the type that had my stomach fluttering from the most PG interactions, which to me really exemplifies how strong Dessen's writing is. Dessen's locations were also well described and there were some scenes, such as those in the forest, that I could imagine extremely vividly.

 

The saint trope was well-played--subtle but touching--and a few of the end results had really subtle foreshadowing that allowed me to guess them before they happened.

 

This book had a lot of hype and I had high expectations based on other works I've read by Dessen. However, it exceeded them and this might be my favourite Dessen book yet.