I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Narrator: Taylor Meskimen
Length: 12 Hours 41 Minutes
Published by Penguin on May 5th 2015
Genres: Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
Sydney has always felt invisible. She's grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world. Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last. Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.From the Hardcover edition.
Why Did I Listen To This Book?
Yo, so a few years ago I was doing a Top Ten Tuesday where we had to list our top ten autobuy authors and Sarah Dessen was one of those authors. She totally still is and definitely always will be. The audiobook of Saint Anything hit my radar because even though I am essentially reading and doing whatever I want, I am still time limited. I knew that this would be the kind of book I would want to carry around the house and listen to ALL of the time because Dessen’s writing is that compelling. I mean, I fricken loved her last book The Moon And More so of course, I had to get on the train for this book. THANK GOODNESS I listened to the audio. It’s one of the best ones I’ve listened to so far this year – what with combination of excellent story and narration, I am such a fan. This is the kind of book you spend your hoarded audible credits on.
What’s The Story Here?
Sydney’s older brother Peyton is sort of a rebel without a cause. Unfortunately, his rebelling has landed him in jail – with good reason. You see,Peyton hit a boy with his car while under the influence. The boy, a teenager who is essentially Sydney’s age, was left paralyzed. Peyton has sort of been the golden child up to this point. I mean, he’s been rebellious and definitely breaking all of the rules, but he has Sydney’s parents attention and so, she’s kind of pushed off to the side. Until this happens, and then she gets her parents attention. Anyways, while Sydney’s family is loaded, the legal battle is taking up a bit of their resources and so Sydney transfers to the local public school. She begins to become friends with the Chatham family – especially Leila and Mack – the family runs a pizzeria which plays a role in the book and they are into music — especially bluegrass. Anyways, Sydney, who has always been sort of quiet and good, begins to become sort of outgoing. It’s hard to really describe – but this is a story of a girl who carves out a space in the world for herself and really claims her body for her own, I can’t go beyond that because no spoilers, but let’s just say I was pleased with her following her intuition and while being affected by be nice patriarchy really speaks up at one point and says no and trusts her bad feelings. That’s all I am saying. Saint Anything is just so well plotted.
How Is Sydney As A Character?
I think if you’ve read the lion’s share of Dessen’s oeuvre, you’ll understand what sort of character Sydney is. Saint Anything‘s main character is a lot like the other Dessen heroines but still her unique self. Okay, there’s some things I could not relate to like her driving a new-ish BMW (lol as an adult with an adult job I definitely can not afford one, but it’s nice to dream). However, despite Sydney’s awesome family financial situation, she’s easy to relate to. She’s someone who maybe gets lost in a crowd. She’s not a super stand out major star type of personality. In fact, she’s normal for the most part. But, there’s just this human-ness to her. I don’t know how to explain it, except to say that as I read this book or rather, listened to it, I could find myself really relating to Sydney and her reactions to her experiences.
How’s The Romance?
If you are like blah bad boys are boring, you will LOVE Saint Anything. Mack, the love interest, is NORMAL. He is absolutely not a rebel without a cause that only a good girl like Sydney can change. No, he’s a good kid who would be an awesome engineer who really cares about his family and who really cares about Sydney. I was rooting for them the whole time. It’s a sweet romance and definitely different from the sort that I normally read. Nonetheless, I liked it. I liked how average and realistic Mack is. He’s not perfect. Nor is Sydney. Yet, their relationship is healthy and supportive and just awesome.
What About The Friendships?
OMG I LOVE SARAH DESSEN AND HER FRIENDSHIP PORTRAYALS. And yes that did deserve to be in all caps. Like, listen, Sydney is awesome and she really learns a lot when she becomes friends with Leila and isn’t like a snob about it. Like, for her, it’s beyond her realm of comprehension that Mack isn’t going to college because he’s taking over the family business, yet she isn’t a douche of judgment about it. I love that. And ugh, her friendship with Leila, it’s great. Like, Leila is the kind of character who shines and is a star and it would seem like her and Sydney wouldn’t get along but as they navigate the early friendship waters and eventually become best friends, it’s like seeing contemporary magic. ESPECIALLY this part where Leila stays over to prevent Sydney from being stuck alone with this guy, Ames, who is Peyton’s friend who is like ‘babysitting’ her but not. Idk. Leila is just a boss B and I loved her is all.
How’s The Narration?
Sometimes I am a tiny bit hesitant when it comes to narrators I have never listened to before, like right now my current audiobook is narrated by Emma Galvin because she’s a tried and true for me, but omg you guys, I really enjoyed Taylor Meskimen’s narration of Saint Anything. Her voice reminds me of a more mature sounding Jenna Lamia. She’s got good timing and voicing technique (look at this review sounding all serious and technical). But for real, I liked her voice. It’s compelling and aurally pleasing. Definitely you should listen to this via audiobook if that’s your thing. I know a lot of you are more into physical reading, but this one is pretty damn good via audio.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Pretty much every Sarah Dessen book of all time ever when I am reading them or listening to them.