Convince Me To Read (18): Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Posted September 10, 2016 by Jamie in Convince Me To Read, Features, Reviews // 0 Comments

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About Convince Me To Read Reviews

While we all have fairly similar tastes, sometimes we need a little push to read a certain book. The Convince Me to Read Review will be a review of the novel plus a section on why we think the other would enjoy it.

Convince Me To Read (18): Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking on May 5th 2015
ISBN: 0451474708
Pages: 417

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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.


Jamie’s review

I love Sarah Dessen. I wrote a whole post about my love for her, actually. So tbh I’m not surprised I really enjoyed SAINT ANYTHING. I thought it had the right mix of friendship, romance, and coming of age that Sarah Dessen is known for. Is this in my top five Sarah Dessen books? No. But I think it adds to her canon in a way that some of her more recent releases didn’t for me. This feels like a very typical Sarah Dessen novel and if you liked her previous novels, or novels by Jennifer E. Smith and Kasie West, you will enjoy this one.

I really liked Sydney and her story. I liked the idea of the collateral damage that her brother left behind after he went to prison. I liked seeing Sydney try to assert herself in relation to her brother. I also liked that even though she wanted to be noticed, she wanted to be noticed for being her not in relation to her brother. But the scene with Mac when View Spoiler ». I also really liked that Sydney stood up for herself in context of other people at first because it made sense for her character. She was the loyal friend (almost to a fault) and it made sense to me that when she finally realized that she needed to be a priority that it would be for someone else, not herself.

At the same time however, I felt like I was missing something emotionally from this one. I was heavily invested in Sydney’s relationship with her brother and Layla, but I didn’t really care about her relationship with her parents. I felt as though we were told too much at the end rather than being shown it. For a book that is over 400 pages, I wanted more at the end about what Sydney and her mom talked about rather than just saying “we talked about these topics.” I was let down by this because I wanted to know what her mom actually thought about these things.

The best part of this was Sydney’s relationship with Layla. I think it was really a testament to female friendships that they were really close but grew a bit apart when they both had relationships. I thought that they had a really good rapport and I liked that they made time for one another no matter what. I also liked that Sydney stayed close to her friends from her previous school. I think it is so hard, especially when going to different schools, even when you live in the same town, so it was nice to see all of them put in the effort to stay friends.

I was very glad that Rogerson is still in a shitty place because he is literally the worst. Read DREAMLAND to find out why.

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SAINT ANYTHING is another great book from my Queen of Contemporary Sarah Dessen. It tackles a tough family situation with a relatable heroine who has great female friendships and a swoony love interest. I thought it was well done, but just at the end it needed more showing instead of telling. But I would definitely recommend this one to Dani because I think she will enjoy the exposition of family and how sometimes it is friends who piece you back together.


About Sarah Dessen

I’ve been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I’d sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, “She has such a wild imagination,” which usually meant “I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth.” I have a tendency to embellish: I think it’s just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it’s hard not to do it all the time.”The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. “As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden—although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive—-and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.”

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