Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen

Sydney has always looked up to her big brother Peyton, but his reckless behaviour has lead to him down a dangerous path, causing a car accident, and ending up in prison. Suddenly Sydney isn’t sure where she sits with her family as her parents become overprotective of her, and don’t seem to accept the fact that her brother was at fault.

I have read every one of Sarah Dessen’s novels, and Saint Anything has the same heart-wrenching scenarios, sweet romance, and complex characters that all her other novels contain. Her books really are a pleasure to read, because even though they take you off into someone else’s world there is something so relatable about the characters and the emotional ride that they are going through.

Saint Anything is about finding your place in the world, and the realisation that people aren’t who you imagine them to be. For Sydney, she struggles to grasp that the brother she loves is also a criminal, and what that means for her relationship with him. You don’t get to see a lot of Peyton through the book, but via a few mentions of him, and some phone calls, you get a really solid feel for their changing relationship.

In the background of the novel, Sydney has just changed schools as a way of escaping the people that look at her and see her brother. Because of this, there is a developing friendship between Sydney and Layla, and then Sydney’s blossoming romance with Layla’s brother Mac. There’s nothing overly complicated going on in the novel – it is more an emotional ride than an action driven one – but Dessen grips the reader from beginning to end. Authentic, touching, and despite its sad points, uplifting, Saint Anything is a wonderful read for teens and adults alike.

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TITLE: Saint Anything
AUTHOR(S): Sarah Dessen
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House
RRP: $23.00
ISBN: 9780141361734

JJ is a writer by night, & a Product Manager by day. She loves young adult and children’s fiction and is the director of NZ Booklovers. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, and is an ex-English tutor. She lives in Auckland with her husband, daughter, and two chihuahuas.

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