Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint AnythingSaint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: -
Pages: 432
Publisher/Source: Penguin BooksAustralia
Release date: 5th May 2015

Synopsis (Goodreads)

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.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Sarah Dessen books tend to be hit or miss for me, for some reason there always seems to be something that I don’t connect with, Saint Anything was a cute read but unfortunately it didn’t wow me or make it to my favourite YA contemporary list.

The story itself is centred on Sydney, a young woman going through a big transitional phase in her life after her brother Peyton is put in prison. She is a likeable character; she blends in never taking the spotlight or wanting attention like her brother did. She is intelligent, brave and smart but she struggles with the fallout of her brothers mistakes.

Saint Anything is a story of longing, self-discovery and friendships. Sydney has had a rough time and her parents are seemingly oblivious to how she is feeling or the seriousness of what her brother did so when she meets siblings Layla and Mac Chantham and their family who run the local pizza shop, she begins to see what true family and friendships are like and how to deal with the everyday problems caused because of her brother/family.

Sydney forms a sweet friendship with Layla and a growing romance with Mac who was an absolute sweetheart, the Chantham family were complete opposite to her own but she fit into their crazy life beautifully. Dessen excels in writing wonderful family dynamics.

All of the side characters were written well, Sydney’s brother Peyton really needs his own book, I found his story interesting and would love a book of redemption for him. Ames was a complete and utter creep! I didn’t understand why Sydney didn’t speak up about this guy, he was odd! I loved Layla, she was a fabulous best friend. Sydney’s relationship with Mac wasn’t at the forefront of the story but was sweet and slow moving.

Sarah Dessen’s writing is wonderful – the themes and message she conveys was done very well and the characters were each interesting, the story-line was engaging and kept me entertained.

Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia for the opportunity to read and review Saint Anything.

Sarah DessenAbout the author (From http://sarahdessen.com/bio/): Hi. I’m Sarah. Writing a bio is always a little weird, if only because it seems completely self-absorbed. I have a standard one that I send out, which lists where I got my degree, the names of my books, all the same boring basic facts. But for this website, I’m supposed to do something more, give a sense of who I really am. So here goes.
The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. I’ve also been lucky enough to teach writing and see my students find their own voice. Teaching was great for me, because I got to show people how writing can really change the way you see not only yourself but the world. I’ve found in my own life that if my writing isn’t going well, not much else will. It is the one constant, the key to everything else.

Now that I’m writing full time, I have my good days and bad days. But I’d rather be doing this, even on the worst days, than anything else. As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, my daughter, and two very spoiled dogs. I like to work in my garden—although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive—-and, in my weaker moments, shop. What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.


  1. I loooove Dessen, always have! Great review Sharon! I like how you give me a lil bit of what to expect but not the whole thing. This book sounds a tad bit like her other stories though, did that factor into your rating?

  2. I struggled with her newest books too, so I'm glad to hear that this one was better, Sharon. I like the sound of the friendships, character growth and romance.
    Lovely review!

  3. I really wanted to read this but so far all the reviews I have seen for it seems to be the same, it isn't a wow type of read and really, in this genre with so many books, you need those wow reads to stand out and be memorable. Sorry this one was more of a miss than a hit for you.

  4. I also have trouble getting into Sarah Dessen's books, but I still want to give this one a shot. Mac sounds so sweet, and he's definitely my kind of guy. Fantastic family dynamics also gets bonus points. :) Awesome review, Sharon!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

  5. My daughter loves this author but I have not tried her. I appreciate your thoughts on this one.

  6. I still haven't read this author either. I hope to one of these days. I think though I will go for one of her more popular ones. I was hoping this one was going to be a great read, but after your review, I am not sure.

  7. I haven't read anything by this author since middle school, but I LOVED her way back when. I wonder what I would think now that I'm older and my tastes have changed. :D I'm curious about Creepy Ames, though. Gotta read this soon. Thanks for sharing!


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