by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Amount: 432, US Hardback
Sarah Dessen is the queen of Young Adult Contemporary novels. She has written 12 books so far and each one is better than those preceding it. Saint Anything is by far my favorite Sarah Dessen book. This book has a depth to it while still maintaining a light mood. Dealing with the repercussions of Sydney's older brother, Peyton, being in prison from alcohol abuse, Sydney has to figure out how to move past the guilt that she feels. To do this, Sydney changes schools and makes new friends. She finally has a new beginning. The plot of Saint Anything is very intriguing. There are many aspects to the plot which ensures that no page is dull. Not only are there issues of substance abuse, but also family drama, illness, guilt, friendships, unhealthy relationships, love, and last but not least: food. Sydney is faced with so many hardships during these 400 pages, but continues to focus on the good things of life. This book is extremely heartfelt and interesting. Although I was not able to relate entirely to Sydney's position, I think we all can relate to Sydney's feeling of being invisible. No matter if you're a super popular person or a nerd sitting at home reviewing books, I'm sure everyone has felt invisible if even for just a moment. This books perfectly captures that feeling and provides hope.
The characters in this book are amazing. Sydney, in all honesty, is a pretty bland character on her own. She doesn't have a dynamic personality and stays hidden in her brother's shadow. However, this was intentional. Once Sydney meets the Chathams, she begins to open up and have some fun. As a reader, I was able to see Sydney grow and become who she was supposed to be: a good daughter as well as an amazing friend. Her new friend, Layla, was another driving character of this book. She is bubbly and is a connoisseur of food and relationships. Her brother, Mac, is always there. He is a loyal companion and also a brainiac. He wasn't as dynamic of a character as Dessen's boys typically are, but I believe his character was perfect for this book and for Sydney. His relationship with Sydney was not at all the focal point of this novel. On the contrary, there is barely any romance in this book. However, the few romantic scenes that were included were so simple and so eloquent that they still made me swoon. It was also very interesting to see the stark differences between Sydney's parents and the Chatham's. Sydney's mom annoyed me to no end because she wanted to control everything both of her children did and did not take time to realize that Sydney is not her brother Peyton. I personally know a mother like this and that was probably why I had such a emotional response to this character. I am glad that Dessen included a character like her though because there are sadly a lot of parents who are very controlling, which is difficult for a teenager to handle. All in all, each and every character blew me away. Even the smallest of the small secondary characters had a distinct personality and an intricate backstory.