Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 417 
ISBN: 0451474708
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Synopsis (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. 

Sarah Dessen is the author of ten previous novels for young adults, among them the New York Times bestsellers What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, Just Listen, The Truth about Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two novels, That Summer, and Someone Like You were the basis for the movie How to Deal, starring Mandy Moore.

Sarah Dessen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with highest honors in creative writing. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Ms. Dessen lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.

This was a good book to kick off the Summer. The protagonist, Sydney, has always lived in her extremist brother's shadow. When he is put it jail for hitting a kid while drunk driving, Sydney loses all sense of identity in the eyes of her family. After switching schools for a "change" in environment, she meets the Chatham family who are polar to the dynamic that she is accustomed to. The reader experiences with Sydney the changing world around her as she tries to find her place outside of who her brother is.

Saint Anything is the first book I've read of Sarah Dessen's. Many people have said that this is darker than her other novels, but don't let this sway you. It really isn't that dark at all. I'm not sure I would even call it that. It just deals with a couple drug-related issues but barely even scratches the surface of them or their effects. Oh, there's a pretty creepy dude and some situations that make you fear for Sydney's safety, but Dessen really doesn't go into much detail about anything.

There is a little romance, but not like her other books. It's more of a side plot, and nothing too crazy happens. It was nice reading a book that dealt with every day life, but was still very clean. No sex, minimal swearing, and I don't think she dropped any names of drugs or anything. Saint Anything is the perfect amount of reality without becoming too heavy or difficult to read.

My only complaint is that I caught 5+ spelling errors in the book. For being a product of Viking, I was really surprised. And perhaps they've corrected them since then, I mean, I received the very first copy that arrived at the library, but one of my pet peeves is seeing typos in a book by a popular author.

It was a light character-driven chick lit that would be perfect for enjoying while sitting by the pool. If you're looking for a good summer read that deals with more substance than your every day love triangle, definitely pick up this book.

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