Nothing signals the start of summer like the publication of the latest Sarah Dessen book. Unlike many of Dessen’s previous novels, Saint Anything isn’t set during the summer, but its riveting premise and cast of characters still make it the perfect little reward for a successful school year.
Ever since her charismatic older brother Peyton got in trouble with the law, and especially after he seriously injured a boy in a DUI accident, Sydney has felt like no one in her family pays attention to her. The only one who seems to notice Sydney is Ames, Peyton’s best friend, whose creepy attention Sydney would rather not attract.
Desperate for a change of scene, Sydney transfers to a different high school, where she becomes enamored of the close-knit Chatham family, who couldn’t be less like her own. Embraced and buoyed by them, Sydney sees the opportunity to find friendship and love like none she’s known before. But her family history—not to mention her own sense of guilt over her brother’s actions—might jeopardize everything she’s found.
Although she’s often categorized as a romantic novelist, Dessen writes as adeptly about family and friendships as she does about love, and all three facets of her talent are on display in Saint Anything. Sydney asks hard questions about what it means to be a good daughter, sister and friend. The mistakes she makes and lessons she learns make for an absorbing and rewarding read—exactly the kind of thing you want to tuck away for the first lazy weekend of summer.