Saint Anything: A Book Review

Posted May 11, 2015 by Carlisa in Book Reviews, Events, Giveaway / 39 Comments

Saint Anything: A Book ReviewSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking on May 5, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 417
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Ah. I just spent the last day and a half reading Saint Anything and practically doing nothing else. My priorities are pretty straight, if I do say so myself. This is Sarah Dessen’s long-awaited new book and it has all the classic Dessen elements: friendship, family, cute and sweet boys, aaaaand drama.

The Event

First, though, I have to talk about this: I met Sarah Dessen! sarah dessen meetI read Just Listen by her in 7th grade and have loved her ever since. Here I am eight years later and just as much of a fangirl. She came to Indianapolis and my friend and I drove down to see her. She kept the Q&A short so she could fly home for Mother’s Day but I learned that she’s just as hilarious and awesome as I would have guessed from her books. Here are some things that I took note of (mostly because they were quirky):

  • She claims she likes to drop John Green’s name at every signing event…so watch out for that if you ever go. She also said she was worried no one would be at the event since she was in John Green Territory (he’s from Indiana)…Don’t worry. It was a full house. I didn’t even get a seat 😮
  • She highly recommends a show called Broadchurch (first season on Netflix!). I’ve never seen it before though so don’t blame me if it’s terrible and/or if you get sucked into a mega binge sesh.
  • She claims this book, Saint Anything, is the hardest book she’s ever worked on. She wrote constantly trying to make it perfection and she described it as pouring her whole heart into it. This made me so incredibly excited to finally start reading.
  • She also gave some tips for aspiring writers: (1) Read always. (2) Have discipline. (3) There’s a lot to be said about showing up and doing the work. She knows many people who could write lines that could bring you to tears but are not able to finish a complete project. (4) There are no hard and fast rules to writing. You kind of just have to figure out what works for you.
  • “I’m not good at many things. Writing is one. And I’m sort of good at making deviled eggs. That’s my other thing.” lol
  • She grew up working at a restaurant called the Flying Burrito which made me laugh out loud because I immediately thought of this:
    fat amy

So, the event was wonderful! And lucky for you guys, Sarah signed an extra copy of Saint Anything JUST FOR YOU. Read my review and then enter to win!

The Review

I mentioned the drama present in her books earlier…but I think I should go further and say that it’s a subtle drama. I think that’s one of the things I like the most about Sarah Dessen books. They’re real life. Each of them has situations that could happen to any of us. There aren’t really huge dramatic events in the books. It’s more just everyday life. In fact, in Saint Anything, the real drama happens before the first page. It focuses instead on how people react to hard situations and how people grow from them. To some, that may not be exciting, but I love to see her characters grow.

Moving on, I LOVE her characters. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’d know how important well-rounded characters are to me. And Sarah Dessen builds these verrrry relatable characters and I just want to be their best friends. All of them. The main character in this novel, Sydney, is very relatable because she’s more of the stand-back-and-observe type of person that I think a lot of us are, including myself. We take everything in, we have opinions, we just don’t always proclaim those to the world. But when we find a group of people and become close to them, that barrier falls. Here’s a quote I noted from the book: “You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.” It’s so true. In this story, Sydney finds that group of people and I just want to hug her and help her pick up those pieces, too.

Another thing I loved about this book is the subtle romance. I read a review on Goodreads where a person was just completely taken off guard when the romance finally took off…but I think they didn’t see it coming because Dessen gave very subtle but realistic hints toward what was going to happen. Like instead of the main character having a massive inner dialogue about her feelings toward this boy, or instead of her having a heart-to-heart and spilling her guts to her best friend or something, there’s a blush here and a lingering look there eventually lead beautifully into the famous romances that Dessen is known for. I loved those subtle moments and maybe that’s because I think the romantic tension between people when they both start to like each other but haven’t talked about IS THE BEST (This is why season 3 of Parks & Rec will always be my favorite). But, hey, that’s just me and I can see why some people would think that this is slow and just not like it.

The Recommendation

Overall, if you’ve liked Sarah Dessen’s other books, you’ll love this one. The Truth About Forever was my favorite of her’s but I think Saint Anything is now a major contender for that title. If you’re not a Sarah Dessen fan, this may not be for you because it’s very much the same style as her other books. AND if you’ve never read any Sarah Dessen (*gaaasp*), try it. See if you like it. And then let me know!


  • imogene dacanay

    I would love to have this book <3

  • imogene dacanay

    i hate that my father’s account were the one who’s logged on when i first enter. I cannot undo it </3

  • irish

    i love this

    • Me too! Good luck to you in the giveaway 🙂

  • jethro

    I want to win 🙁

    • Why are you frowning? You could definitely win! Good luck!

  • ivan

    i love this book. only red it on ebook tho

    • eBook is a great option! Good luck to you in the giveaway!

  • Brenda


  • kay95

    Wouldn’t actually let me leave a comment, but I’d love to get this book. 🙂 So here is my real comment. I loved The Truth About Forever, and no her writing isn’t slow at all. The subtly of romance makes it so much better, more suspensful that way.

    • That’s very true that it makes it more suspenseful but not in the way that “suspense” is normally described. Thanks for signing up!

  • Kodi

    I love your book reviews. 🙂 You make me want to read everything! I’d love to win and give this book a try.

  • Cassandra

    Sarah Dessen is my absolute FAV. I’m so glad to see your review, and I CAN’T WAIT to read it!!!!

    • Yay! I’m glad you love her as much as I do. And I wish you the best of luck in the giveaway and hope you read it and love it and then let me know so we can talk about it!

  • Annie

    I can’t wait to read this book because 1)Sarah Dessen is great and writes swoony romances but also deep coming-of-age stories 2)Did someone mention PIZZA????? xD

    Carolina M on rafflecopter

    • Hahaha, yes. I love in The Truth About Forever how her friend always whispers “Sa-woooon!” to her when Wes goes by. Have you read that one?

      And, yes. Pizza. Just yes.

      Good luck on the giveaway!

      • Annie

        Actually I have to choose whether to buy Lullaby or The Truth about Forever (the only two books of her that I haven’t read yet!), but you just decided for me! 😉

  • Christine

    I love how her books are so easy to relate to. She’s been one of my favorite authors for as long as I can remember because I always can connect with her characters on some level 🙂

    • YES. Her characters are SO relatable and just normal human beings. Which is awesome. I love that she can create such down-to-earth characters that are so normal, yet we find ourselves as readers loving and caring for them.

      • Christine

        I know!! She’s a master at crafting flawed, yet likable and redeemable characters. Which makes them feel so real, and makes you root for them.

  • I haven’t read anything by Sarah Dessen, but I always read reviews that say how great she is.

    • Yeah, I’ve always held a love and appreciation for her books in my heart. I hope you take the time to try her out! My two favorites are probably this one and The Truth About Forever. Good luck in the giveaway!

  • I feel embarrassed for never having read a Sarah Dessen book. I realise I need to change this. Thank you for this review! The facts you included about your meeting with Sarah were lovely aswell. I very much enjoyed reading this. 🙂

    • Don’t be embarrassed! I’ve loved her since middle school but I definitely don’t think everyone would like her, and that’s a-okay. I hope you do read her though and I hope you tell me what you think! Good luck in the giveaway!

  • bn100

    it sounds interesting

  • Courtney Whisenant

    I haven’t read any of her books yet but I’ve been wanting to read this one since I heard Sarah speak about it at YALL Fest. I’ve read so many great things about it too!

    • Oh, the YALL Fest looked so fun! I’m glad you were able to go! Good luck in the giveaway! And I hope you take the time to read some of her books!

  • Ashley Christy

    I love Sarah Dessen because she’s a great writer, but also because she seems so real. She is so open about her struggles, both as a teenager and as an author and I think this really shows in her characters. I’m excited to read Saint Anything because I’ve loved all her books and I make it a point to read every new one!


    • Yeah, have you seen the article she recently wrote for Seventeen magazine? She opened up about an experience she had as a teen that I’m sure was very hard for her to write. But sometimes the best things come out of hard experiences. Good luck in the giveaway!

      • Ashley Christy

        I have! That must have been so hard to share and I have mad respect for her. Thanks!

  • I have heard amazing things about this book. I haven’t read any of her books, but I would love to read this one. Thanks for the chance!

    • You really should try her out. I’ve enjoyed her for such a long time though so I’m probably biased. Good luck!

  • Krista

    I also haven’t read any of Sarah Dessen’s books. But I totally trust your reviews, and I’ve already started reading some other things you’ve talked about!

    • Yay, that makes me happy!

  • Ohh

    Sarah Dessen writes beautiful books. I love every single book she has written. They always make me laugh, cry, scream, and etc.