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Monday, February 15, 2016

REVIEW: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything focuses on Sydney, a teenager who has never quite been the star of the family.  That role belonged to her older brother, Peyton, who received that majority of the attention and now concern.  When his increasingly troublesome behavior results in a tragic accident and consequences, Sydney is set adrift and struggles to find her place within the family and the world. She feels anger and resentment that her parents remain fixated and worried about Peyton, but show little to no regard for the accident's victim or the unsettlingly creepy vibe from Peyton's friend, Ames, who seems determined to weave himself into every aspect of their lives.

Sydney's circumstances shift when she meets the Chathams, a friendly, yet chaotic, family who run a local pizza parlor, love music, each other and welcome her into their lives with no judgement or expectation. Sydney finds the emotional support and communication lacking at home plus romance with Mac, gentle, protective, handsome, and the first person who makes Sydney feel truly "seen".

This was my first Dessen read; however, the themes seem to remain on par with what I know about her other books.  Saint Anything explores change, family and self-discovery within a realistic landscape.  The setting, plot and characters are well developed with good pacing making the scenarios that much more believable. If I could make suggestions for improvement, I would have made the situation with Ames a bit grittier.  I'm used to some YA realistic fiction that is a bit edgier and while the creep factor was there, I didn't feel that the writing or story line conclusion adequately addressed this issue.  I wasn't quite happy with how quickly everything was wrapped up. Overall, I enjoyed the book and plan to read more of Dessen's novels.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @sarahdessen

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