Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Recommended for: 6th grade and up
Call Number/Link: TEEN FICTION DESSEN, S
Synopsis: Sydney’s charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.
Review: This book is like a typical book by the author. It explores some deep feelings of the protagonist. Sydney is the good girl always trying to do right, while older brother Peyton is always in trouble. This time he hit and paralyzed a young boy while driving drunk. Sydney’s parents are hyper- focused on Peyton and his needs that they don’t spend much time with Sydney except to tell her she can’t spend time with her new friends, Mac and Layla. The Chathams are much different than her family and she really starts to feel understood and loved.
I liked this book except for the character of Ames,a creepy adult friend of Peyton’s, who is always leering at Sydeny. Sydney’s mom trusts him, even having him stay with her overnight while they are out of town. Eventually he manipulates everything so that he is living with them. The whole time Sydney knows that Ames is probably going to attack her, she locks herself in her room, but never feels like she can tell her parents. It was also weird that her mom would rather her stay alone in the house with a 20 something guy rather than spend time with her new friend Layla.
I do like Sarah Dessen’s books, they are emotional and heavy, good for the kid who likes story lines with people going through hard times. There is usually some romance, as this one does with Sydney’s relationship with Mac, but it does not factor heavily into the story, which some kids really don’t want to read too much about. I would recommend for readers of John Green and other realistic fiction authors.