Review: Saint Anything-Sarah Dessen
Young adult, contemporary
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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.
“You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.”
I've had this on my reading list since it first came out but haven't been in the mood to read a Dessen book. Before this one, it had been years since I last picked up one of her books. I remember absolutely loving them and being immersed in the character's world and issues. When I finally picked this one up, I was excited to get back into her writing and the serious life issues that the MC, Sydney would go through.
Sydney's brother did something pretty awful and is now doing his time for it. He's wrecked the family and turned their mom into a basket case with so many rollercoaster emotions I got nauseous with this lady. Sydney is just trying to come to terms with her brothers actions and the afterfall of it all. I think she was pretty brave but also hurt and confused and that was conveyed through these words. She needed a change and to find her world once again.
We don't actually get to read any interactions between Sydney and her brother except for 2 or 3 flashback type scenes but I wouldn't count those. I would have loved to see them interact more, even on the phone. They barely talked and their relationship felt very empty and left open by the end of the book. It would have been nice for them to have reached an understanding.
Sydney's mom drove me nuts. I totally understand that her son is in jail for doing something very hard to forgive, but come on! She barely paid attention to her daughter and when she did, she wasn't very forthcoming. I just didn't feel like she was there for her family and found her somewhat selfish despite understanding the situation. It would have been great to see her, Sydney and the dad have some scenes together that wasn't short or ended up being about Peyton and fighting.
Ames drove me crazy as well. He's super creepy and is obviously trying to get with Sydney. Her parents made him stay with her all the time alone and I wished she would have said something, but again, I can understand why she didn't. And when they suddenly realized some things, I was surprised because nothing happened to make them see what a creep he was. I also wish that who thing was finished better. It felt rushed and out of nowhere, to be honest. I didn't like how Ame's and Sydney thing was tied together.
I love the side characters. Her new friend, the new guy she falls for, and the bandmates. They were fun to read when all together. I wished we could have gotten to know them a little bit more, though. I felt like none of them and their "stories" were wrapped up, but was left open and didn't get closure.
The reason why this has to little of a rating is because the ending was rushed. Nothing felt wrapped up and I had many questions that weren't answered. And during the story, it felt somewhat hard to connect with any of the characters and their lives. It felt all disconnected to me.
“When faced with the scariest of things, all you want to do is turn away, hide in your own invisible place. But you can't. That's why it's not only important for us to be seen, but to have someone to look for us, as well.”