Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Number of Pages: Sample – 35; Book – 448
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance
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.
Sarah Dessen was probably one of my very first forays into the world of contemporary YA. I think I read all of her published books around when I was in 8th grade. I just marathoned all of her novels one after another in order of publication (because I had researched and KNEW that she put easter eggs in her writing). I wanted to be able to say that I had read every one of her novels. I’m not sure why I did but I enjoyed it.
Now I was a little disappointed by Dessen’s 2014 release, The Moon and More. I found some of the characters annoying and I didn’t really like the progression of the plot. It was probably my least favorite out of all of her books. I know people think that Dessen’s books are too repetitive or too predictable. But I think that’s the magic with her books. They have a certain charm to them. Yes, they may be predicable. But the characters and problems they face make for a very enjoyable read.
In the case of Saint Anything, I was already really psyched to read the book. I didn’t hate The Moon and More, I just was expecting more. Dessen is still an auto-read author for me so I’m still really excited to read Saint Anything.
Onto the review of 35 pages!
Saint Anything was really slow in the beginning. The sucky thing about it was that I had begun to get into the book around page 30. So when the sample finished, it was extra painful when I realized that I’d have to wait until May to actually read it.
So far, we have a few things established. Sydney was super close with her brother Peyton. Around the time Peyton entered highschool, he began to mix with the wrong crowd, participating in illegal activities. Eventually, he began to improve, but he still ended up being arrested. And now, Sydney is known as the girl with the delinquent brother.
35 pages in and we already have gotten some of the references to places and people in Dessen’s world. Colby, the ever-popular beach town from her earlier books. There’s a reference to Deb, the cheerful school welcomer from What Happened to Goodbye. There’s Perkins Day Highschool and Jackson highschool, all of those familiar settings from previous books. It’s something that I love about Dessen’s books. Reading a new Dessen book is like stepping back into the same, familiar world.
Something that was insanely cute was the pizza parlor and the sucker cup. I totally related to Sydney and her love of unpopular sucker flavors. She likes root bear dum dums and I can totally relate. I too, like eating root bear dum dums. I also like cream soda flavored suckers (not sure if that’s unpopular but whatever). But what was cute was that after she asked about the flavor, the workers gave her a huge bag full of root bear suckers. Instant approval from me!
With her classic writing style and the expectations that I have for her characters and plot, I’m already really excited for the book release!