Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary (Goodreads is a saint): 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.
My Thoughts: I always forget how much I love Sarah Dessen until I read one of her novels again. This novel was a long time coming, which meant that I've been reading so called "grown up" novels for some time now. I was really worried about getting back to Sarah Dessen...that is, I was worried until I started reading it. These novels are so fantastic because you can always connect to them in some way. You understand what the main character is going through. They aren't just horny teenagers that want to run around getting drunk every weekend at the latest parties. These novels actually talk about something. That's important.
I also find myself struggling to keep my emotions in check. I get so angry when something bad happens to the main character and it's not their fault. This happened to me a great deal while reading Saint Anything. I couldn't get over how the protagonist was being treated. I was mad that her life wasn't fair, even though I am well aware that life isn't fair. I just felt so bad for her.
Even though I was aware of the general direction the novel was taking, I still managed to find myself interested and wanting to keep reading. I didn't put it down. I think my grandfather (who was camping with me while I was reading this novel) thought that I had lost my marbles because I hardly spoke while reading it. It was just that good! And being good enough to make me shut up is a really big feat...
I like that this novel was unique in the characters, the jobs they had, the main issue of the story, that it brought up serious issues including an illness that I know relatively little about, and that there were incredible places for the characters to hang around in. Most of what I experienced in this novel was new to me which is a big deal. That doesn't usually happen. I found myself getting caught up in it all because of this. I definitely want to reread this novel some time in the future and enjoy it all over again.
I hated waiting for Dessen's next novel but I think it was well worth the wait and much different (better, much better and more grown up) than her previous novels. This one is one of my favourite novels by her for sure! I think that if you enjoy young adult and romance and just generally good books, you might want to check this one out.