Hello and happy Wednesday. I’m very excited to be writing this post today because I feel like I haven’t reviewed a good book in a while. I’ve been telling you what not to read and some alternatives to shitty books, but I haven’t recommended a straight-up good book in a while. Well, Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen is beyond good and might be one of my favorite YA contemporary novels of 2019, probably ever.
I’d been reading a couple of ARCs and wasn’t really able to get into them, so I sort of felt the beginnings of a slump and I just couldn’t afford to lose the reading rhythm I’d been on. To clarify, I wasn’t forcing myself to read, I just wanted to look for something more appropriate for my mood than what I was reading. I basically needed a pick-me-up, so I consulted my TBR jar and it gave me two wise words: Saint Anything. Now, when I’m in a slump I’ve noticed that reading physical books helps me, so I thought “this is it.” In my mind, a novel by Sarah Dessen would be full of fluff, which was just what I needed, and it was what I needed alright, but there was not an ounce of fluff.
I feel like I owe Sarah Dessen an apology, although I doubt she will read this because I totally underestimated her book without even having read a page. I thought that as a YA queen, which is pretty much what she is, she would write shallow, fluffy, cutesy romances, and that I would be faced with one of those in Saint Anything. That, again, wasn’t the case in the slightest. I read this book between May 15th and May 20th, 2019 and gave it five stars.
The first thing I would tell you, besides not underestimating this book before reading it, would be not to get intimidated by its size. I think that a book over four hundred pages can be considered a big book by some, but I assure you, it is going to be a fast read and its size is the last thing you’ll be thinking about. Add to that the fact that chapters are fairly short, which helps you keep a nice pace when reading.
This story is about Syndey, a teenager whose brother is in jail for injuring a kid while drunk driving. You see what I told you about the fluff? Nonexistent. Now, I like that we get the sister’s perspective because I think oftentimes books that are about tragedy do not address the family and its suffering in any way. In Saint Anything, you feel the guilt Sydney is feeling and you are as conflicted towards her brother and what he did as she is.
Character-wise, I love how Sydney flourishes throughout the book. At first, it seems like she’s telling everything from an outsider’s point of view, like Nick from the Great Gatsby, or like things happened to her but she didn’t have an active role in the plot. This begins to change with time, but in a way that makes sense and that seems completely natural given the events that take place in the story.
I also loved the fact that there was a back story to almost every character. You knew why they acted in a certain way. They were three-dimensional and that added a lot to the plot. Now, not all characters were likable, but even in their cases, you got to see the reasons why they weren’t likable. There is romance, yes, but it is not the center of the story and it develops slowly, just how I like it.
This is an amazing novel, but I must warn you about an attempt of sexual assault. This is also not just an isolated scene, but throughout the novel, we can sense some events building up to it. If this is something that upsets you or that you feel like it might affect you, don’t read this book.
Have you read any other novels by Sarah Dessen? Tell me about them in the comments.
Love, Miss Camila