Monday, December 14, 2015

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen


SUMMARY FROM 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.

MY TAKE:
I had absolutely nothing in common with Sydney, but I still enjoyed reading this book.

In Saint Anything, Sydney has always lived in her brother's shadow, until something terrible happens. Fortunately, she eventually finds a refuge with the Chatham family, as well as a few old and new friends. However, things are just about to come to a head. Can Sydney handle it all?

I love Sarah Dessen's books, but I don't think anything will ever top Just Listen for me. That book was beautiful and I read at the perfect time. My second favorite book is The Truth About Forever, which is another classic that probably won't be dislodged from its place on my list either.

That said, this was still a nice read. Sydney had my sympathy from the start, but even more so, once I read more about her mother and that seriously creepy guy. The story itself wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be, but it didn't take the heavy topics it dealt with lightly either.

There are at least two Sarah Dessen-novel signatures present here that I loved and which made me happy. One is the little shout-outs/Easter eggs related to her previous novels. It makes me want to read the old books again just to see if I missed any other Easter egg. Second one are the supporting characters. This is one of the things that Sarah Dessen excels at: creating believable and likable (often quirky) secondary characters. I wouldn't mind being part of their group of friends.

As for Sydney, I genuinely liked her. As with most of Sarah Dessen's heroines, I think she and I could have been friends in real life. Mac was also a nice enough guy, but in terms of Sarah Dessen love interests, he's probably in the middle of the pack for me.

I definitely recommend reading this book, but if you do, you should consider having pizza and french fries on hand. I didn't and until now I am craving for pizza and french fries. Yum.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's easy to sympathize and like Sydney, even if you don't have anything in common with her.
  2. The story is touching.
  3. The secondary characters are awesome. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some may argue that it's a bit formulaic. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You are a Sarah Dessen fan.
  2. You've felt like you were living in a sibling's shadow.
  3. You like relationships that develop gradually. 

RATING:
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