Feb 7, 2017
Author: Sarah Dessen
Format: HardcoverPublication Date: May 5 2015
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
I put off reading this book for nearly two years, and I’m really not sure why. I think that maybe I was worried I was too old for Sarah Dessen’s writing. I left high school and teenage drama behind quite a while ago, but with this book I’m reminded that her writing isn’t childish and neither are her characters. Sydney was forced to grow up early and while she’s not immune to the bad decision making that’s the hallmark of her age group, she doesn’t make bad choices just to make them. If anything this book shows that listening and loving more is what’s required and needed in a healthy family. It’s not the absence of making mistakes, but the fact that people are still embraced and loved (while being held accountable) that matters.
I think it’s interesting that Sydney’s parents are so blind to what her brother did, and somehow only she and her brother can see what a disaster it is. All of the characters have the trademark Dessen touch of being wonderfully quirky, with all of the flaws and positives that come with it. The characters always make her novels so much better.
However, there is one thing that bothered me. The mother. OHEMGEE. I wanted to punch this woman in the face and I’m so not kidding. I understand wanting to protect your child, but this too it to far. Pretending like he didn’t do anything wrong, and acting like he’s away at college is just ridiculous. The worst part is that she knows where he is, and it’s not that she’s lying to people. Everyone knows he’s in jail, but she acts like he’s innocent and it’s no big deal. Also, her over-protectiveness with Sydney is crazy, but she’s also an idiot. She’s going to leave Sydney at home with a boy who is only like 3 years older than her with a criminal background? No way that would ever happen in real life. No self-respecting good parent does that.
This book was a wonderful reintroduction to Dessen’s writing, and it really made me excited for her next book that will be out in June 2017. I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for fans of young adult, contemporary, and anyone who likes to read books that are realistic.
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
Find SARAH DESSEN online:
Buy SAINT ANYTHING online:
“The future was one thing that could never be broken, because it had not yet had the chance to be anything.”
― Sarah Dessen