Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Goodreads summary: 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.
Oh boy. I’m slightly disappointed.
Sarah Dessen is like the queen of contemporary. She’s a fabulous writer that can evoke tons of emotions in you. Her writing is so realistic and palpable where you can actually feel what the characters are going through, like you’re there with them. She writes amazing characters, moments that make you smile, laugh out loud or cry. My most favorite book that she wrote is Just Listen. Wow. Just Listen might actually be my number 1 favorite contemporary book. I could relate to the characters, the message that was conveyed was beautiful, the romance was cute, the friendship. “Don’t think or judge, just listen.”
I recommend you check it out. It’s worth reading. 🙂 Coming close to that is Along for the ride, This lullaby and The truth about forever. Even Keeping the moon was great! Yes, I’m a huge Dessen fan.
I love the fact that she wrote Saint Anything for girls like us who sometimes feel invisible. It was incredibly nice to read her message to the reader in the beginning of the book.
Saint Anything was another story. I liked the story but I did not love it. In the first 30-40% of the book, I could relate so well to Sydney. I could understand what it’s like feeling invisible for most of your life. I was nodding my head to certain things, enjoying the funny scenes, and in general liking what I was reading.
The book starts with the scene of Sydney and her parents in a courtroom. Her ‘centre-of-attention, star of the family’ brother is being sentenced to jail for drunk driving leading to a boy being paralysed for life. The spotlight is suddenly cast on Sydney (
but not really) and she tries to find out who she really is with the help of her a new friend Layla, the girl who always ends up with the loser guys, and Mac, her love interest.
“I was used to being invisible. People rarely saw me, and if they did, they never looked close. I wasn’t shiny and charming like my brother, stunning and graceful like my mother, or smart and dynamic like my friends. That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.”
There are cute and laugh out loud moments but that couldn’t save the rest of the book. Sydney’s character started to get annoying and frustrating after a while. Towards the second half I couldn’t care a thing about any of them. I thought my emotions died along with the rest of the book. I just couldn’t understand what she was carrying on about being a ‘good girl’ and a ‘good daughter’. There’s a difference between being a good girl and being a spineless girl who can’t stand up for yourself. Majority of the problems in this book could have been solved so easily. If she just sat down with her parents and talked to them about things such as how creeped out she felt around Ames, they may have started to see him in a different light. The doubt would be there. Though I have to say Dessen wrote the creepiness well. I could just feel how creepy he was. I actually cringed whenever he was in the picture.
I guess that was the problem. Communication. dammit
The end was way too predictable and rushed. Most of those things should have come earlier in the book. There were some moments that hinted at Sydney’s character showing some development but failed. I know that change is hard but sometimes you just have to dive into it.
“That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.”