July 6

Book Review – Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

July 6, 2015

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.

This is another book that was getting lots of chatter in the blogging world, and I wanted to check it out. I listened to this one on audio. The narrator was decent, but not exceptional. If you are looking for a good YA audio book, this is not a bad choice.

Pros:

  • Dessen does an excellent job of tackling tough issues and their impact on individuals as well as families. I think she has a realistic approach in her writing, both in her descriptions of the impact of tragedies as well as the way different people cope with those tragedies.
  • Most of the main characters are very well-developed, and you have a good sense of who each one is and how each one will handle different situations.
  • I love the various relationships depicted among the characters – how some relationships grow, some become more distant, while some wax and wane. Overall, the variety of relationships is such a good snapshot of how they play out throughout one’s life.
  • Dessen also portrays a variety of different lifestyles, and demonstrates how you can never predict how people will react to certain situations based on where they live or how much money they make.

Cons:

  • I understand that Sydney’s mom was also coping with some big issues, but I really struggled with the way she treated her daughter through most of the book. She was so distant, yet so dictatorial at times – the relationship just never felt quite right to me.

I did enjoy this read. I’ve heard it is not the best of Dessen’s work so I am planning at some point to check out something else she has written.

Have you read anything by Sarah Dessen? Which of her books would you recommend?

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