Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Sydney has always felt like she has lived in the shadow of her brother Peyton, the one that got all her parents attention, especially as he started getting into trouble. When Peyton drives drunk and strikes a boy, he’s sent to jail and Sydney’s world is shaken and her parent’s focus is definitely on him now. Sydney decides she wants a fresh start and switches schools so she doesn’t have to be The Girl Whose Brother Hit A Kid While Driving Drunk and feel the guilt and shame that brings with it. As she tries to wrestle with the accident and her relationship with her family, she crosses paths with Layla and Mac, brother & sister, who accept her and bring her into their family when she needs it most.
1. Slow pace – I found the pace quite slow at the start and it almost made me stop reading almost but I didn’t. As someone who perhaps enjoy the fast pace of the fantasy and action genre this was a change in pace. Also, it suited the story and the main character. Sydney is the opposite of her brother. She doesn’t want attention or at least not the bad attention that she gets when people talk about the bad turn her “golden” brother has taken as of late. She doesn’t want to be invisible, if anything she wants to be seen for herself and not as someone under her brother’s shadow.
2. The Feels – This book really hits right in the feels. There are so many moments where it caught me off guard and just hit me right in the feels. It made me feel like I was going on a roller coaster. The constant up and down of my emotions. I would feel happy, then suddenly I’m so frustrated that I want to pull my hair out then I’m dancing around in glee and then shocked and it goes on and on until I read the last word. Rarely has a book ever made me feel so much in such a little time, this is reserved for my all-time favourites. Even then some of my favourites did not make me feel as much as this book.
3. The Newness – The title of this point doesn’t make sense, so I’ll try to explain. This isn’t a romance book and it isn’t just a coming of age book. It is a book of self-discovery, growing up and learning to love for the first time. I haven’t read a book along the same lines before. Don’t get me wrong I’ve read plenty of familiar books along the same line but none quite the level of Saint Anything. For me Saint Anything cannot be categorised into one thing because there are so many small things going on that it is difficult to choose where it really belongs.
Is it romance? No, there is sweet, sweet romance but that isn’t the main plot. Is it family drama? Maybe but that’s not all. Coming of age novel? Yes. but again that’s not all. Er… Does it fit in like a friendship category? It discusses friendships but again not the only thing going on here. I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone else but it makes sense to me. So…
Then again it has only been recently that I’ve been reading books similar to Saint Anything, so I can’t really say I’m an expert or even knowledgeable on this genre.
4. Relatable – Sydney is very relatable but it wasn’t just her though. I found that all the characters were relatable and realistic. From Mac the quiet friend turned romantic interest turned boyfriend to Sydney’s mother who is forever in denial about her “golden son”. Her mother I found had a profound effect on me because I could see where she was coming from and why she was feeling that way but also I was frustrated and angry and furious by her inability to see past her rose coloured lenses. She doesn’t “see” Sydney only “the daughter”. Sometimes I’ve felt that everything she does with Sydney is out of duty not love and that really made me sad because Sydney tries to be seen for who she is but her mother only looks in one direction and refuses to turn towards her.
Saint Anything is a great read that took me on an emotional roller coaster. The characters are relatable and believable. I liked the romance between Sydney and Mac, sweet and slow wins for me! This is my first Sarah Dessen book but after reading Saint Anything it most certainly won’t be the last.