Friday YA: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I grabbed a copy of Saint Anything off the sale pile at my local bookstore. I had recently read another novel by Sarah Dessen, Once and For All and had really like how much substance and character building she had written into that novel and wanted to try another and see if this was her signature style. Sure enough, Saint Anything matched the depth and her heroine Sydney was complex. Yeah! I know I’m late to discover this author, but I’m excited to find her and will probably quickly get through her backlog of books. 🙂

Saint Anything is about Sydney and her search for a voice and presence in her family. Sydney has always been second to her older brother Peyton. He was charming, good looking, and the apple of her mothers eye. As he grew older, he began to act out until one day he drove drunk, got in an accident and hurt another teenager. Peyton goes to jail and leaves Sydney’s life in pieces. Having to change from private school to public school Sydney has to start all over. In some ways this was a wonderful thing to be among people who didn’t know her past. When she meets Layla Chatham, she gets embraced by her family and finds the support and love from them that was missing at home.

Sydney went through so many emotional ups and downs in this novel. She is angry at her family, feels guilty about the teen that her brother hit, and tries to balance new friends and old friends while still maintaining her own personal identity. Then, of course, she falls in love too, and Mac’s that boy that all mothers should want for their daughters. A prince among teens. LOL.

Sarah Dessen must have gone through every emotion in her teen life to be able to write with such depth and feeling from a teenage girls point of view. Sydney’s self revelations are inspiring for teen girls I’m sure, but also for myself at a (much) more advanced age. I really enjoy how her characters grow into great people and forget I’m reading about 16 year old’s. It does help that the romances are sub plots, at least in the two Dessen books I’ve read so far.

If you haven’t read this novel and are looking for a quick read with depth, look for Saint Anything. It will fill that bucket, for sure. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“I’ve read several Sarah Dessen books and always found them perfectly good summer reads. Nothing extraordinary but never a disappointing read, and Saint Anything fell right into that category. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about this book. I enjoyed the characters and their development, something Sarah Dessen absolutely excels at. But in terms of story and romance, it was lacking.” Pagefuls

“I absolutely loved this book! Sydney’s character was very relatable because like her, I also lost touch with some of my friends when I changed schools. The only event that made me uncomfortable while I was reading was Ames’s character because from his first scene I knew he was creepy. It really annoyed me when Sydney’s mother kept encouraging Ames to come around, but by the end of the book I was happy to read about her change of heart.” The Night Owl Book Blog

Saint Anything

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Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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Friday YA: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Louna is working her final summer before she goes off to college as an assistant in her mothers bridal planning business. Growing up in the midst of bridal madness has given her a rather jaded view of true love and the one relationship she’d had ended tragically. When she spots Ambrose, the gorgeous son of a client, she distantly notes his looks but is disgusted with his laissez faire attitude towards life as she has to reign him in to walk his mother down the aisle. He is a fly in the ointment of her life, and she is the challenge he is determined to win. When her mother hires him for the summer, Louna’s animosity towards Ambrose disappears but she is still afraid to let go and live.

Once and for All took me on a journey into a world of love, loss and friendship. Louna’s one and only love ended abruptly and because she never had the chance to conclude this teenage love she doesn’t know how to move on. When she meets Ambrose she is just disgusted by his good looks, charm, and easy goingness (is that a word?). However, she soon begins to admire that same casual charm. The same things that aggravate  her day to day he seems to deal with effortlessly and with a smile on his face. Finally, of course, women LOVE him. He dates multiple women at a time and Louna only goes out when dragged and set up by her best friend. Then one day, standing in line to get coffee, they make a bet. She needs to become a serial dater and he needs to have a relationship for seven weeks. Winner gets to pick the next date for the loser.

I liked so many things about this story! We take a parallel journey with Louna as she remembers her previous boyfriend and as she starts to live her life again dating. The use of flashbacks effectively delivered the color of Louna’s emotions in the past as a direct contrast to the dull gray emotional world she is living in now. As she learns to move on her world slowly builds in color until Bam! she realizes how she truly feels about Ambrose and how wonderful life is while living it fully. It was very deftly done, and a really enjoyable novel to read.

I want to talk Ambrose for a minute. Did anyone else really dislike him for the first two thirds of the book? I’ll admit, when I started reading I didn’t read the synopsis so I wasn’t sure he was her love interest. It took me a long while to see through that persona into the depths of him. Once I looked hard, I understood where the book was going and then read the synopsis to make sure I was right. Yep! But, I’ll admit I was worried!

There were some other great characters in this book. I loved William, the gay father figure with a spine of steel, her best friend Jilly the oldest sister and wrangler to a million little brothers and sisters, and her mom who went through her own metamorphosis right along with her daughter. I understand why this book touched the hearts of so many people and received great reviews. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Once and For All

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Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved