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Saint Anything (2015)

by Sarah Dessen

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1,1275413,796 (4.11)15
Sydney's charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.
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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
This review was originally posted on Once Upon a Chapter



I decided top ick up Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen for a lot of reasons. The main reason is that Alexa loves her and Saint Anything was just released. Everyone seemed to really be enjoy8ing it so it seemed like a good place to start.

Sydney was such a great character. Her family has been struck by tragedy and they are going through a time of adjustment. It's particularly hard on Sydney as she's still in the school where she and Payton have attended.

The Chathams were a lot of fun but not without their own troubles. What I really loved about Saint Anything is the difference in how the two families dealt with their troubles. Neither way is wrong. Each person is going to grieve and mourn in their own way. I hope that if I ever have to face this kind of adversity I can handle it like the Chathams.

One of the things I really liked about Saint Anything is that Dessen doesn't give more information than is necessary but still paints a vivid picture. There are no unnecessary characters. And the woman can write a food description that'll make you stand up and beg for it! ;) Seriously I was craving pizza so hard after reading this. Actually it was during this book that I swung through and got some breakfast pizza.

Reading this book wasn't easy. The subject matter is a little heavy but I really enjoyed this one. I will definitely be catching up with Dessen's back list! ( )
  stephaniedloves2read | Aug 8, 2021 |
This review was originally posted on Once Upon a Chapter



I decided top ick up Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen for a lot of reasons. The main reason is that Alexa loves her and Saint Anything was just released. Everyone seemed to really be enjoy8ing it so it seemed like a good place to start.

Sydney was such a great character. Her family has been struck by tragedy and they are going through a time of adjustment. It's particularly hard on Sydney as she's still in the school where she and Payton have attended.

The Chathams were a lot of fun but not without their own troubles. What I really loved about Saint Anything is the difference in how the two families dealt with their troubles. Neither way is wrong. Each person is going to grieve and mourn in their own way. I hope that if I ever have to face this kind of adversity I can handle it like the Chathams.

One of the things I really liked about Saint Anything is that Dessen doesn't give more information than is necessary but still paints a vivid picture. There are no unnecessary characters. And the woman can write a food description that'll make you stand up and beg for it! ;) Seriously I was craving pizza so hard after reading this. Actually it was during this book that I swung through and got some breakfast pizza.

Reading this book wasn't easy. The subject matter is a little heavy but I really enjoyed this one. I will definitely be catching up with Dessen's back list! ( )
  stephaniedloves2read | Aug 8, 2021 |
This is the first book I've read by Sarah Dessen, but based on other people's reviews, this isn't her best work. Objectively, this book is okay. I'm not really in the target demographic, but all things being equal, it was a decent story that was competently told. However, when it comes right down to it, it's all a tad... dull. Mac's just a little too sweet. Sydney's mom is just a little too much of a perfectionist. For Layla, however, I have no mercy: she fits the overpoweringly quirky BFF trope--TO. THE. MAX. The girl carries around a custom ketchup-seasoning blend in her purse, for goodness' sakes, which she needs because she eats french fries like TWELVE TIMES A WEEK. AND IT IS ALWAYS DESCRIBED IN AGONIZING DETAIL. Is there a deeper message Dessen is trying to send about french fry-induced neurosis? What is the symbolism of the french fries? Why does Layla dip them in ketchup three times? What does it mean when her new boyfriend puts mustard on his french fries?

(I guess I felt more strongly about this book than I thought. I had no plans to write about the french fries when I started this review. I just really, really hate quirky BFFs.)

Anyways. It seems that I've been living under a rock for the past few years since I'd never heard of the YA lit powerhouse that is Sarah Dessen before last week. I read this book for a class, and it's not something I would gravitate towards on my own, but at the end of the day, it is what it is--a weak plot with well-developed but still kind of bland characters. Maybe I'll read another one of her books if the plot appeals to me... But please. No french fries.

I will say, the one thing I sincerely appreciate about this book is Dessen's treatment of Ames. So often, YA lit promotes predatory behavior as romantic, protective and caring. It's encouraging to see a character like Ames not labeled as a misunderstood, wounded soul who just cares a little too much and shows it in the wrong way--nope, he's a creep, and we know it. And when so many YA books are busily spreading the exact opposite message, I think it's worth acknowledging when a YA book takes a healthy look at the predatory romance trope so popular amongst its contemporaries. ( )
  Samantha_Quick | Jul 15, 2021 |
3.5 maybe - it was your typical YA contemporary .. was kinda hoping that the 'climax' at the end of the book would have happened sooner - I mean, you set it up the whole damn book and the very end is all we get. Still, I liked her friend group and the way everyone reacted.. hated her mother but I get it .. and her dad was just really annoying too lol ( )
  ashezbookz | Oct 20, 2020 |
Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars and rounded it up to 4 stars here.
I really enjoyed "Saint Anything" by Sarah Dessen, but not as much as I did "Lock and Key." The biggest issue I really had with this book was the fact that Sydney's mother and father were 100 percent ridiculous. And them not realizing the danger of Ames. I also hated the final scene between Ames and Sydney with Sydney rushing off. It didn't feel real at all.

This book tackles a really big issue right away. Sydney is dealing with years of fallout from her older brother Peyton. Petyon though charismatic, is a huge mess. We find out that he is sent away time and time again due to breaking and entering, drinking, and drugs. Throughout it all Sydney's parents have been supportive. Until the night Peyton goes out, gets drunk and high and hits someone with his car. This leads to Peyton being sent to jail for several months and Sydney and her family trying to pick up the pieces.

Sydney has always done the right thing. However, she is floundering with transferring schools and going to Jackson High School. Due to her parents having money issues because of her brother's constant arrests and fines, Sydney suggests transferring for the good of the family. Seriously though, Sydney is a touch too martyrish for me at times.

After transferring to Jackson, Sydney goes to a pizza place after school and meets the Chatham family. Pretty soon she finds that she has friends for lives in Layla and Mac (brother and sister) and there friends Eric and Irv. Though Sydney has old friends from her school (Jenn and someone I am forgetting) they were pretty much non-entities throughout the book. Besides one scene where Sydney goes and deal with their mess, I was not feeling old school friends that much.

I honestly didn't feel the romance between Sydney and Mac. I thought they really worked out well as friends. I would have loved it if Dessen had them be best friends just like Sydney is with Layla.

I have to say, that for me, my favorite character was the secondary character in this one, Layla. We eventually see how Sydney re-meets Layla and comes to become part of her inner group at Jackson High School. Layla and her chaotic family were so bigger than life, it may have been better to flip this and make her the main character. I mean Layla in five seconds gets what is going on with Ames and Sydney's parents are totally oblivious.

The parents in this one were infuriating. I don't know why, but I kept thinking of Brock Turner's parents, and their total 100 percent backing of their son and blaming everyone else for what he did. So to read a book where Sydney's dad was checked out, and her mom was so insistent about being there every step of the way for her son without acknowledging what he did. At least Dessen redeems the character of Peyton by having him having a dang clue about what he did and why it was so awful. I can't even give the parents kudos for finally clicking onto what a creep Ames was, guess what, don't move people into your house when you don't really know them. I know Ames was a fictional character, but my stranger danger alert was going off in every scene he was in.

The dialogue felt off at times. We have a lot of Sydney "inner dialogue". I really wanted and needed her to speak up more. Her anger at her parents when she gets grounded (she invites people over after they say no and gets caught having a sip of vodka) was hilarious to me. Um no dear, you don't get to be outraged when you are drinking underage and have people in a house you don't pay the mortgage on.

I was ready to shake Sydney, and this is where the martyrdom needed to die.

The book's flow was off while I was reading this. I think it's because it wanted to cram too much in it, and honestly there was a lot in it. Between Peyton's jail time, Sydney's transfer, we also have the Chathams dealing with the matriarch of the family dealing with MS, Layla's dating woes, and oh yeah Ames and his totally not subtle I am going to try to do something evil self.

The setting in this one was once again Lakeview. The town didn't feel set up as well as it did in "Lock and Key." I don't know why that is, but maybe the flow had something to do with it.

The ending was a bit too much everything is awesome for me. We do have Sydney taking a step to go and have closure on something that has been worrying her this whole book. But man oh man, I found the whole thing inappropriate. Send a letter first, and then see about it. Showing up on someone's door didn't feel right to me at all. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
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For all the invisible girls and for my readers, for seeing me
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"Would the defendant please rise."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sydney's charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.

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