Narrator: Taylor Meskimen
Published by Listening Library on May 5th 2015
Genres: Family, Friendship, General, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs. 41 mins.
Also by this author: Along for the Ride, The Moon and More, Lock and Key
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 12th novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
In Saint Anything, Sydney’s older brother Peyton goes to prison after a drunk driving accident – leaving her family shattered and Sydney feeling invisible. She changes schools for a chance to start over and bonds over pizza, French fries, music and lollypops with siblings Mac and Layla. Meanwhile, Sydney’s mom obsesses over Peyton and Peyton’s friend Ames is a creepy presence in Sydney’s life.
Sarah Dessen’s twelfth book is a little more mature than her other books but still trademark Sarah Dessen. You can expect to find a great friendship and family story, light romance, and a standout setting.
Sydney has never given her parents anything to worry about. Her brother Peyton, however, has given them countless sleepless nights. Sydney is used to being in the background- having a few good friends and living life under the radar. In Saint Anything we see lots of character growth as Sydney begins to stand up for herself, becomes more self-aware and confident, and listens to her intuition.
The family situation that Sydney faces is probably typical but not one we often see in YA. Sydney’s mother is controlling and very focused on Sydney’s troubled brother. But when she catches Sydney in a bad (yet harmless) situation she assumes the worst and begins to control every aspect of her life. Sydney’s mom is a one-dimensional character that I was frustrated with on Sydney’s behalf.
With Sydney at a new school, she’s trying to balance old and new friendships – another situation that’s true to life but we don’t often see. I liked Sydney’s friendship with Layla and how Layla’s family became such a good support system for her. And it was nice to see Sydney make the best out of her situation and make time for her old friends.
The darker element of Saint Anything comes into play with family friend Ames, who develops an unhealthy interest in Sydney. I think, unfortunately, all of us can relate to this situation and I’m glad that Dessen touches upon this issue. Check out this great guest post in Seventeen, where Dessen talks about an uncomfortable situation with an older guy.
The romance in Saint Anything is not a huge part of the story, but I did really like Mac and Sydney together. He shows her she’s not invisible, makes her feel safe, and cherished. And I want to have my own Saint Anything pendant!
I listened to the audiobook of Saint Anything, read by Taylor Meskimen, a new-to-me narrator. Meskimen’s voice suits the story and she makes all the characters her own. Her voice doesn’t overwhelm the story but makes the words stand out. I’d listen to her again.
Saint Anything is a touching read that sneaks up on you – it even made me a tear up a couple times at the end. This is only my fourth Dessen novel and I need to make some time over the summer to read more of her work. What is your favorite Dessen novel?
I listened to Saint Anything on Scribd. New members can get 3 months free with this promo code: https://www.scribd.com/promo/TheReadingDate (good until 9/21)