Friday, 22 April 2016

Book Talk - Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I asked my friend for contemporary book recommendations because I wanted something happy to read recently. She recommended Saint Anything to me. I had never read a Sarah Dessen novel, but heard lots about them, so I took it out from the library and totally loved it!

This book is about Sydney, a girl who’s brother Peyton was in a drunk driving accident that left a boy crippled. Peyton is now serving a jail sentence and Sydney has to deal with a troubled family, the aftermath of the accident, the guilt of her brother’s mistake, and not being able to be seen as an individual that isn’t her brother’s sister.

Saint Anything was mainly about how the aftermath of others’ actions can affect those who aren’t involved. Sydney feels guilty because of what her brother did, even though it wasn’t her fault at all. She’s always felt like she was living in her brother’s shadow, and the fact that her parents were so concerned about him lately didn’t help matters at all. I thought that this was a scenario everyone can relate to to some extent. Whether we’ve been living in the shadow of a friend or family member, it’s easy to understand Sydney and where she’s coming from, which I really liked.

I really loved the characters in this book. They all had quirks, aspirations, and were just overall fleshed-out characters. They seemed realistic. I enjoyed the dialogue as well - the teens didn’t speak in philosophical sentences, memorable quotes, or meaningful metaphores (cough, cough, The Fault In Our Stars, cough) but the way normal teenagers actually talk. I think it’s usually hard for authors to accurately portray teens in their thoughts, emotions, and speech, but Sarah Dessen did this very well.

Something I didn’t like was that there was no storyline. There was no goal. Bad things just kept happening to Sydney that were mostly not related to each other. Peyton was in prison and Eric wanted to record a track for his band. There were usually multiple things going on, but nothing that Sydney was aspiring towards. I’m not sure why I was able to read this book so quickly, since it barely had a plot and just dragged on different events.

When things did happen though, they were usually repetitive. (SPOILER ALERT, SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH.) I’ll accurately sum the book up for you: Peyton calls, they argue, their mom cries. David Ibarra guilt. Layla’s mom is in the hospital. Peyton calls, they argue, their mom cries. Ames is being a creep. David Ibarra guilt. Layla’s mom is in the hospital. Peyton calls, they argue, their mom cries. Ames is being a creep.

For some reason, which I’m not able to identify, I was hooked from beginning to end while reading this book. It wasn’t that fast of a read, but I did really like it, which was strange since the plot was either repetitive, all over the place or not there at all. I guess Sarah Dessen was able to pull it off nicely, so I will only take off half a star for the strange plot. I really loved the characters, though, and think it was realistic and relateable. The akwardly laid out plot was barely a noticeable issue while I was reading it.



If you want a happy contemporary read about friendship, family, love, and guilt, I recommend you check this book out. It’s a pretty happy contemporary, yet gloomy and honest at times, and I personally enjoyed it.

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