Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Content Warning: Mild language and underage drinking
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 only other book I have read by Sarah Dessen was Lock and Key, which I won in a giveaway hosted by YA Highway several years ago. I’ve never really felt drawn to contemporary fiction, but I enjoyed that one and always meant to read more of Dessen’s work.
But Saint Anything just turned me into an official Sarah Dessen fangirl. I could not put it down. Reading Sydney’s voice was like reading my own, even though our experiences are vastly different. Her journey to find healing after someone else’s bad decisions is a realistic blend of frustrating moments and funny ones. The cast was spectacular, the writing was solid, and the story was so very good.
Score: (5 / 5)