I’ve been a fan of Sarah Dessen for ten years, starting with when I had randomly picked up a copy of This Lullaby. Saint Anything came out summer 2015, and I hadn’t been in the mood to read. I still checked it out from my library immediately. I read maybe a chapter, but then it sat on top of a pile of other unread books for two weeks before it was time to return it. Last week, I was reminiscing over how Sarah Dessen used to be my favorite author. Once I started thinking back through all of her books, I felt the urge to reread them. Maybe I still will reread them, but first, Saint Anything.
Many of Sarah Dessen’s books deal with some heavy contemporary topic. For Saint Anything, that underlying plot is Sydney’s brother, Peyton, going to prison for paralyzing a boy while drunk driving. Sydney’s mother focuses all of her attention and energy on being the perfect Prison Mom while tightening the reins on Sydney, hoping to not lose control of both of her children. Needing a fresh start, Sydney switches to public school and makes friends at a pizzeria on her way home, siblings Layla and Mac.
Recently, I’ve read several books where the main focus of the book is a central relationship. Though there is a relationship forming, it’s kept pretty mild. I found it refreshing that so much of it focused on Sydney’s friendship with Layla. Less refreshingly, any work of fiction (or nonfiction, I’m sure) where there is a parent who just refuses to let their child explain themselves stresses me out so badly. Sydney’s parents had dealt with enough explanations and lies with their son, which explains why they might be quick to shut Sydney down, but I’d just like it better if everyone communicated more openly and with understanding.
Throughout the book, Sydney struggles with her parent’s severe lack of guilt over her brother’s actions, and feeling as if she is the one carrying it all. There’s also the matter of her brother’s friend, Ames, who hangs around her family and is (pardon my slang) a total creepo.
With Sarah Dessen, it’s always going to be a good read. Check out her latest book, Once and For All, available now!
Length: 417 pages
Favorite Quote: “It was unrealistic to expect to be constantly in the happiest place. In real life, you’re lucky to just be always somewhere nearby.”
Ratings: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥