Goodreads synopsis: 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.
Last week I had the rare treat of discovering a very new book, published within the last 6 months. It was my second Sarah Dessen book (I just finished my third), and it was very good. That is what I have found in my experiences with Sarah Dessen so far. Her books are very good. Her characters feel very real, and they’re well written. But I have yet to find a Sarah Dessen book that is amazing, one that I just can’t put down. It is true that I’m not easily impressed, though, so that may be a part of it.
I think my favorite part of Saint Anything was Sydney’s mother’s relationship with her son (Sydney’s brother) Peyton. She always managed to find a way to ignore the fact that her son was responsible for the accident. While that would have made me furious in real life, it was really neat to read about. I felt the same way about Ames’s character, who was so gross, yet I was eager to read scenes with him because I knew something was going to happen with him and Sydney and I knew it was going to be great (and it was). (I don’t mean that I wanted that to happen to her. I just mean that it was important to the story and it was entertaining. Y’all know what I mean.)
One of my biggest problems with the book was the spatial descriptions. There were certain scenes that I just couldn’t picture in my head. I could not get an image of the sinkhole, which I felt was really important. I also didn’t understand what the “ring” was on the carousel. The carousel itself was actually an issue for me because it only came up once. It is on the front cover, so I thought it would be more prominent. And if I found something that cool right in my backyard, I’d be out there all the time. Overall, though, it was good. Not a must-read or anything, but if you have the time and you’re looking for something to read, I’d recommend it.