Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen-- I loved the audio of this book almost as much as I hated the mother in it

Saint Anything

Sydney feels invisible.  Her older brother has always been the center of her family, and now he's in prison.  You would think this would give her parents more time to focus on her, but you'd be wrong.  It's still all about Peyton even if he's locked away.

After transferring to a new school, Sydney gets taken in by a group of teens that become her people.  They are her lighthouse in the storm that is her family.  With her mom obsessed with Peyton, Sydney is barely acknowledged.

Will Sydney ever demand to be seen?  Will her mom ever open her eyes and see Sydney for who she really is??

I have been wanting to read the rest of the Sarah Dessen books that I haven't found time for for a while.  Her books all have the same feel, so usually I like to space them out-- however I really spaced them out for a time there!!  I read her newest book (The Rest of the Story) this summer and it made me realize how much I missed the easy way I fall into Sarah's stories.  I also just recently discovered that I love audio books, so when I saw this one was available at my library, I jumped in!!

The heart of this story is about a family dealing with tragedy.  Syndey's older brother Peyton has landed in jail after his antics escalated to a drunk driving accident that left a boy severely injured.  The repercussions are far reaching, and Sydney now has to transfer schools due to the high legal fees her parents have wracked up helping Peyton.

It's at this new school that Sydney really finds her place.  She meets a group a kids that take her in and become a found family for her.  First there is Layla, a girl that might be too good to be true.  She completely sees through Sydney's walls and instantly puts her at ease with acceptance and patience.  Then there is her brother Mac.  He's pretty much one of those YA dudes that don't exist in real life, but I don't mind pretending that he could.  He's perfect and that's all I really have to say about him.

For a book that I really liked, it sure did frustrate the hell out of me.  Mostly because Sydney's mom is infuriating.  I'm used to the mother's in Sarah Dessen's books being insufferable, but this one may be competing for the top spot.  I hated her so much.  Her number 1 concern was for Peyton, and she didn't allow herself to have time or energy for anything or anybody else.  Her daughter was right in front of her, but she barely cared.  Her mind was in prison along with her son.

Sydney was no walk in the park though.  Who even was she?  She had zero backbone, which is super hard for me to relate to.  Stick up for yourself!!  Quit letting life happen to you and lead a life!!  There was a creepy friend of Sydney's brother that kept having around, and her parents kept putting Sydney in situations with him that made her feel uncomfortable.  All she had to say was "Mom, I don't feel comfortable being alone with Ames", and I'm pretty sure even a mega-bitch would listen to that.  Sydney said nothing-- it was perplexing.

Sydney made me realize that a lot of Sarah Dessen books have bland main characters with side characters that breathe life into the stories.  All the side characters in this book were fully developed and interesting people.  I'm not really sure what they saw in Sydney besides the fact that they felt sorry for her.  The brother/sister combo that she meets at school (Mac & Layla) had particular interests and friends that all had particular interests and family that... well you get it.  Sydney didn't have anything except her brother's drama.

I was wary of this book because I know there was a lot of chatter about Sarah Dessen's newer books not really being as interesting as her latter ones.  I didn't find that here.  I found this book to be wholly  compelling-- I couldn't wait to get to the main confrontation because this mother needed it!!  It wasn't completely satisfying to me (but it probably wouldn't have been unless the mom was thrown out on her ass).  I need to remember that whenever I'm feeling lost I should read a Sarah Dessen book-- they center me and make me feel like I'm home.  She's a beautiful storyteller and I hope she never stops!

PS-- Lots of Easter Eggs in this one!!  (I spotted Spinnerbait, Lakeview, Perkins Day, Jackson High, Rogerson from Dreamland, The Arbors, Bendo, Dave from What Happened to Goodbye, and I'm sure many more that I didn't spot).

OVERALL: Sarah Dessen tells stories that make you feel like home.  This one is no exception and you should read it.

Date Published: 5/5/2015
How I got this book: Listened on Audio from Libby
Publisher: Viking/Penguin

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Character: Rosie Chatham
Book: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

  • Another Sarah book... but this one is perfect for an ice skater that is trying to get back into skating after something made her quit.


  1. Dessen is a favorite of mine, and I remember really liking this book. Her family was all drama, but she had her safe haven at the pizza place. Dessen always writes a great story with the perfect balance of everything. My favorite thing about Dessen's books are the Easter eggs. I just looked at my review and I talked about Rogerson,, and Jackson High to name a few.

  2. "Sydney made me realize that a lot of Sarah Dessen books have bland main characters with side characters that breathe life into the stories." You're right - a lot of her books are main characters learning to be less bland lol. The exception I can think of is Remy from This Lullaby....