by Sarah Dessen
As many of you know by now, I absolutely adore Sarah Dessen and her writing. Needless to say, when Saint Anything came out on May 5, I HAD to have it! Anyway, I accidentally bought it on kindle and a few days later my #OTSPSecretSister sent me a physical copy! Can I just say, best sis ever! I like the fact that I have both formats as I am able to read the book whenever and wherever I want without ruining the physical copy. Also, I can get the book signed and add it to my Dessen collection. You probably didn’t want to read all that so I’ll get on to the part you care about: the review.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I had the opportunity to read the sneak peek of the book via NetGalley before the book released, and I was hooked within those first four chapters. What I really liked about this book was the descriptive writing style and the fact that Dessen didn’t just focus on Sydney’s present situation, but she also gave background that made the situation clear and outlined exactly WHY Sydney’s brother Peyton was favored. I really liked getting a glimpse into the family dynamics and being able to see how the family was when Sydney and Peyton were younger and compare/contrast that with the current family dynamic. I have to say, I also liked seeing the parents’ role in the novel. While I really disliked the mom, I thought she had some character growth by the end of the novel. Also, I didn’t like the dad because of reasons except that I don’t feel he had as much character growth and would have wished a little more character development in him.
I really liked the character growth Sydney, Peyton and some friends she makes at Seaside Pizza, Layla and Mac go through in the book. At first, Sydney feels alone because she’s the only one that seems to care about David, the kid her brother ran over. However, as the book progresses, Sydney is able to come to therms with what happened and she definitely stops feeling so guilty and invisible.
Along with this, I really like how relatable Dessen makes the book to girls who aren’t in Sydney’s situation. Even though I am not going through the same thing as Sydney is, I can definitely relate to her in that I have too felt invisible so many times in life. For me it’s because I have a disability and feel that people talk down to me and think I’m not as smart/capable/insert adjective as them and so they treat me differently or ignore me. For Sydney, it was having a brother whose shadow she was always in. Sydney felt invisible because her brother was good looking and charismatic in elementary school. Later, she felt invisible because her brothers court appointments and jail sentence always took attention away from her. I really liked how Dessen developed a story that I could relate to and how she intricately wove lessons of friendship and love into the story.
Next, I like how the story follows a similar theme as some of her other stories in that the seasons play a major role. As the book begins, it is summer going into fall. By the end, it is spring. These seasons have symbols of being something that leads to death/decay/hard times and a new beginning respectively.
Lastly, I really liked the darker aspect of this novel. To me, the book definitely felt a whole lot more intense than previous books not only because of the subject matter, but also the tone Sydney had. It was definitely something new and I really liked how Dessen just worked with everything and it didn’t feel forced or as if someone else had written it. Even though it was a darker subject matter, I think Dessen handled it with her classic style but she definitely added some new aspects.
Overall, Saint Anything was a much darker read than Sarah Dessen’s previous novels. I would definitely recommend this to anyone as it brings up many thought-provoking questions. I’d suggest that anyone, whether you like Dessen’s other novels or not, read this book!