Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen is about a girl named Sydney and her finding her own place in the world. She previously had been always overlooked because of her older brother Peyton’s charm, however Peyton eventually finds himself in trouble with the law, and is imprisoned. Unfortunately, Peyton had been driving drunk and had severely injured a boy riding his bike on the road, leaving him paralyzed. His sister, Sydney, feels significant guilt and remorse for the victim of her brother’s crime, and continually keeps up with how he is doing through social media, but throughout the book Sydney has very limited personal contact with the victimized boy.
Sydney decides to switch schools, and she meets new friends – Layla and Mac – who she feel she fits in with. At her old school she was invisible, but now she feels needed and appreciated. Essentially, she finds a secondary family to her own, with her new friends and their parents.
Sydney’s mother at first, seems to spend most of her time trying to reach out to Peyton and be involved in his life while he is in jail. This makes Sydney feel disappointed because she at first doesn’t see her brother the same way her mom does, because to her, Peyton is the person who decided to become drunk and drive, changing the life of the now paralyzed boy.
The writing of the novel is done very well, the characters are written really realistically in the sense that they don’t seem like just characters in a book, they seem as if they’re real people, facing real challenges. Each of the characters in Saint Anything have original and unique personalities that are enjoyable. I liked how this book had such a strong emphasis on relationships both family relationships and friendships. The book had a distinct positive message and life lesson that is applicable to everyone.
I am definitely glad I read this book, I have really enjoyed other Sarah Dessen novels so I had high expectations for this one, which it met and even exceeded. It encompassed romance, friendships, and family relationships, with the presence of challenges such as a parent suffering from a degenerative disease, college, addiction issues, and prison.
I give this book 4/5 because of it’s ability to engage the reader and to incorporate many topics that can be easily related to. Though it had a serious tone throughout the novel, with the characters dealing with medical emergencies, relationships with parents, and prison, I did find that the characters were humorous at times!
Some of my Favourite Quotes:
“You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.”
“I’d done the right thing. I always did. It just would have been nice if someone had noticed.”
“Just because a person isn’t talking about something doesn’t mean it’s not on their mind. Often, in fact, it’s why they won’t speak of it.”
“Relationships evolve, just like people do. Just because you know someone doesn’t mean you know everything about them.”