Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I really liked the author’s previous novel about wedding planners and I was curious to discover Saint Anything. I was very surprised to find with a little harder topic here. But that’s also what intrigued me because I was curious to see how she was going to handle this change.

Sydney’s family went through a tough time when her brother Peyton went wrong. Whenever they thought he’d gotten himself under control, things were getting worse and worse until he did something that put him away and was finally locked up in jail. But if her mother does anything to support him, help him, and forget that he is guilty of what he did, Sydney can not seem to forgive him, especially when she sees the behavior of her mother. Become the invisible girl at home, the one who always passes after Peyton, our heroine moves away more and more from her parents until she finally meets someone who sees her, someone who wants to spend time with her: Layla.

I loved Layla, she’s a lively and bouncy girl for crazy things. It will allow Sydney to open up and flourish a little with her. And there is her brother Mac, and all his family, who can only soften us. I really had a good time with all the characters even though Ames has made me uncomfortable many times. I was in any case curious to discover more about him.

Yes, I really had a great time with this novel. I was touched by Sydney’s story, but also that of Layla’s mother. It was once again a beautiful discovery of the author, very different from the previous one and I wonder how she will surprise me with one of her next books!

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