For me, reading a Sarah Dessen book is like coming home to a warm cup of cocoa after a long winter night out. It’s the sweet tea or sticky snow cone on a hot summer day.
Currently, I’ m sitting on the deck of the beach house we rented for our family vacation this summer (waiting for the ice cream truck). I can hear the ocean, the waves rough. I can see the white caps beating against the shore just over the dunes. Pelicans and sea gulls fly above, creating shadows across my tanned legs and sunburned shoulders (why my shoulders only burn, I have no idea). Despite the recent shark attacks, the North Carolina coast is littered with people. It is beautiful here.
And all of that is what I expect when I read any one of Sarah’s books. The tranquil and relatable books. The ones I know will never let me down. The best books for the summer.
So when I picked up Saint Anything and started reading on the beach earlier this week, I fell back into that place. A thousand miles from home and this book was making it seem not so far away.
Sydney is a regular girl with a small situation at home (who hasn’t had the police called to their house because their brother did some sketchy stuff? Oh, just me and Sydney? Okay.) I quickly got sucked into her life. And then I was hooked when she fell in with Layla and her family.
That’s one of my favorite things about these books. The friendships are realistic. Sydney and Layla reminded me of one of my friends (especially the French fry thing. SO US!)
It’s just so easy to read when you feel like you’re a part of what’s going on. I need to know what happens with all the characters once the books are over.
I loved finding little easter eggs from her previous books. Hate Spinnerbait. (My cousin and I still say this occasionally!) The towns I’m familiar with, like I’ve actually been there and walked the streets.
The romance was cute. Not rushed or mushy or unbelievable. It’s the kind you expect a 17 year old to find.
Saint Anything is a book about family and finding out that this doesn’t always have to be blood relations. About showing your blood family that forgiveness and apologies are only just the start, and that no matter what they will have your back.
If you’re familiar with Sarah Dessen’s books, you’ll find the same thing going on here, but you’ll also know there is a surprise right there somewhere. Something to make it special, something separating it from her cookie cutter mold of writing. It’s always there, and that’s why she remains my favorite author.
Sydney accepts her place in her family until something horrible happens.
From there, she has to rebuild her life and figure out what it means to be seen by others. When she goes to a new hangout, she not only discovers amazing pizza, she also finds out what it means to be seen and to be heard. She may have felt invisible all these years, a girl in the shadow of her older brother, but now is the time that she learns to stand up and speak out for what she wants and what really matters to her.
Dessen writes a beautiful coming-of-age story showing the struggles and the reality of one teen and how she learns to build a life for herself. Done especially well is how our main character deals with a creeper. She is resourceful, funny, and unrelenting in her beliefs. In this, Dessen shows readers that even if you can’t name the feeling of what’s not quite right with a situation; your instincts are good and true. Trust them.
2 - Great reminder to trust your instincts.
3 - Fun read to curl up and chillax.
I've read almost every Sarah Dessen book and this one has to be one of my favorites! It was absolutely beautiful!
Sydney has always felt like she was in her older brother's shadow, but for the past few years her brother has been in and out of holding cells and escorted home by officers. Then her brother drives drunk and hits a teenager on a bike, paralyzing him for life. Now Sydney is known as the girl with the brother in jail. Sydney decides to move to a new school, away from the whispers, and ends up becoming friends with a girl, Layla, whose family works in a pizza shop. She gets introduced to Layla's brother and Layla's friends and Sydney begins to feel happy again. But her parents are too preoccupied to notice anything but Sydney's brother.
What I love so much about this book is how much depth is within it. This book has the usual coming of age tale that I expect from Sarah Dessen, but there's so much more to it. It has a strong aspect of family. Sydney's parents, especially her mom, become very controlling of Sydney in this book, as if she is her brother. They also see Peyton, Sydney's brother, as a victim and even act as if Peyton is away at school, not in jail. It is very infuriating the way they treat Sydney, but it's very realistic.
Sydney begins to live outside her brother's shadow. She's at a school where no one knows her brother's past and she has friends that like hanging out with her. It's hard for Sydney to have a life like this because of her parents who always seemed like they liked Peyton more, especially now. We really get into Sydney's life and point of view. Her character is very realistic! She has her flaws, but she's the girl that will always do the right thing and will always be there for her friends. Something her parents can't see. It's very beautiful, though, seeing Syndey change and grow throughout this book!
There is a romance, but this isn't a romance book. There is so much more to this book!
I love this book so much! I was so engrossed in this book! It was absolutely beautiful and it was amazing seeing Sydney and her growth! Really, I recommend this book for everyone!