Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Source: First To Read
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s Sarah Dessen’s books in general, but I don’t click with them most of the time. Sarah Dessen definitely has the generic plot going on for each of her books, and I’m totally fine with that; it’s her style. Her upcoming book, Saint Anything is just that. Saint Anything tells the story of Sydney, and how she copes with moving to a new school after her brother Peyton gets in car accident that lands him in prison. Sydney meets siblings Layla and Mac, whom she forms a close friendship with. Sydney has to deal with family, boy, and friendship problems throughout the book.
As far as characterization goes, Sydney was kind of a dull character, to be honest. She notes to herself that she doesn’t usually catch the main attention in the family– her brother Peyton does. But even so, she is very subdued and under-the-radar to me. Her interaction with another character, Ames, is also very frustrating because she never voiced when she was uncomfortable with him. She could have easily told her mother, but she just kept it shut inside of her. Clearly not a good way to stand up for yourself.
If anything, I enjoyed Sydney’s friends more. Sydney befriends the Chanthams. Layla is extremely spunky and outgoing, and her brother Mac is sweet and endearing. Their family dynamic is also wholesome with Mr. Chantham and Mrs. Chantham being heavily involved in their kids’ lives. It was Sydney’s friends that brought her out of her shell, not really herself.
However, with these drawbacks with Sydney’s character, I still found the story to be mildly enjoyable. I think that’s part of Dessen’s charm there. The plot may be ordinary or even something not completely novel, but she’s able to make it unique to the characters and bring light to it. There are enough things going on that I was fully engaged throughout the story.
Saint Anything is a sweet story that is a little on the mediocre side, but Dessen’s charming storytelling makes it intriguing to read. If you’re a long-time fan of Sarah Dessen, don’t skip out on this! However, if you’re not a typical reader of Dessen, there are definitely better contemporaries out there; I would look elsewhere.