Review: Saint Anything Delivers Everything Asked For

Saint Anything has been received with many open arms landing at the third spot for New York Times Bestseller list this week with its debut. This is well-earned for Sarah Dessen’s twelfth novel for young adult realistic fiction. Saint Anything is relatable for many readers for several reasons like being hidden behind an older sibling’s social shadow, transferring schools, and finding yourself.
Sydney, the protagonist, is trying to forge a path for herself after her brother, Peyton, has gone to jail for paralyzing a young man, David Ibarra. After the incident Sydney decides to transfer from Perkins Day, the local prep school, to Jackson High School, the local high school where she hopes for a new beginning. Her friends from Perkins Day try to keep in touch with Sydney, but as she experiences Jackson High she changes her views and disagrees with what her Perkins’ friends are doing. Early in the book Sydney meets a group of friends that intrigues her and pulls her in to their small orbit of events. Throughout their adventures she grows closer to Layla, the only other girl in the group, Mac, Layla’s attractive brother, Irv, the giant football player, and Eric, the ego-centric guitarist. Each person has their own impact on Sydney’s character development as she discovers herself. Sydney also grows closer to her brother and begins repairing their tension-filled relationship that was formed after he paralyzed David Ibarra. Sydney comes to grasps with what her brother did, and she goes through obstacles of her own that change her view of the world that is moving around her.
The secondary characters within Saint Anything are each important in their impact on the story’s plotline and to Sydney. The secondary character that has the greatest impact on Sydney was Mac Chatham. Mac made sure Sydney knew that she was not invisible. She was no longer hiding behind Peyton’s shadow, and she had to form her own shadow. Mac started out as just the cute guy behind the counter at Seaside Pizza, but quickly became a friend that Sydney told all her secrets. Despite the attraction she immediately felt for him, she withheld the information and formed a strong friendship bond with Mac first. Sarah Dessen has written what not many other authors have: a friendship with a love interest. Mac, as himself, is calm and very studious. He wants to get to college, but family relations might not make that happen. Sydney makes sure it does. His character strives for the best, and he gets the best at the end of the book. His story is full of struggles that feed Sydney encouragement to get through her obstacle course.
Layla, Mac’s sister, has a major part to Sydney’s story in the beginning of the book. Her character was outgoing and full of confidence. However, as the story develops and she gains a boyfriend, her confidence and her character slowly dwindles. Layla was the person that brought Sydney into the circle of friends at Jackson High, and readers definitely wish they could have seen more of her throughout the story. Her interesting fry ritual and reading interests intrigued readers beyond what the other characters had to give to the book. However, Sarah Dessen brought about a different Layla once she got involved with Spence.
Sydney’s mom and Layla and Mac’s mother were complete opposites of each other. Sydney’s mom, throughout the book, acts as if Peyton is the victim of the incident where he paralyzed David Ibarra. Her thought process is that Peyton is the one in jail, and she thinks that David Ibarra should not have been out on the street that late at night riding his bike. The fact that Sydney’s mom acted this way led to their once close relationship to separate to different sides of a chasm.
Layla and Mac’s mother not only cares for her own children, but also for Sydney and their friends. She is currently battling multiple sclerosis daily, yet she makes time to sit down and talk to each of the characters in the book. Mrs. Chatham makes characters in the book feel like they have a second mother. Her caring attitude is carried from readers’ first impression of her all the way to the end of her time of need. Mrs. Chatham is the best mother anyone could ask for.
There was only one area of the book that annoyed readers: there were two Peytons. Not only was Sydney’s brother’s name Peyton, but her dad’s name was also Peyton. While Sydney’s dad was not often referred to as Peyton, when he was the family was also talking about Sydney’s brother, Peyton. This made the book confusing at times, but looking at the context, readers could distinguish between the two Peytons.
Overall, Saint Anything redeemed Sarah Dessen from her last novel, The Moon and More, and way beyond the expectations. Sarah Dessen has made Saint Anything her best novel she has written so far, in more ways than one. Not only did she keep the characters real, but she also made the character’s problems realistic. Go to the bookstore or library this instant to pick up the next big hit in young adult realistic fiction.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Saint Anything Delivers Everything Asked For

    • It is such a great book! You should try to get your hands on it ASAP! 🙂 The confusing part about the Peytons was just that the father and son were both called Peyton and both referred to as Peyton. And because they were both minor characters and not seen a ton in the book it made it confusing to decipher between the two. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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