Saint Anything – Review // An Enjoyable And Moving Read

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Stand-alone novel
Genre: YA contemporary, romance
Pages: 417
Format: paperback
Source: bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Saint Anything was my second Dessen book. I went into it with fairly average expectations, having read only one of her other books and liking but not loving it. Not to mention, I didn’t really know what the story was. I wasn’t blown away, but it was a touching contemporary read. 🙂

the plot

The plot was half original and half not-so-much. It follows Sydney as she and her family try to cope with the arrest of her older brother Peyton. I’m not sure if that storyline is common or not, but I personally haven’t read anything like it. However, it’s also about Sydney meeting a family that really gets who she is and makes her not want to be invisible anymore, particularly as she falls in love with the boy – her best friend’s brother. That I have seen before, and I can’t say that this was anything special. I will say, though, that if I looked past that trope, the story was very realistic and enjoyable. 😉

the characters

I liked Sydney as a character, but I have to admit that I didn’t see anything truly special or defining about her. She was an average, “invisible” girl, but changed when she met bold Layla and her quiet brother Mac. Before hanging out with them, her hobbies included watching reality shows after school while alone at home. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I would’ve liked if she had a hobby. Granted, there were definitely obstacles in her path, but I don’t think it would’ve hurt to try. 😉

I think Layla was my favorite. She was a romance novel, instruction manual, and French fry connoisseur. In general, she was just a very quirky person and I loved it. She had nerve to do and say things Sydney didn’t, and was a wonderful friend too. I felt bad for her when Ames revealed Sydney’s secret (I couldn’t stand him!!) and was worried she wouldn’t recover. Needless to say, I was thankful that she did. I would love to have a Layla in my life. 🙂

I liked Mac, too, but not quite as much – at least not right away. At first he was a mix of the quiet older brother and reluctant heir to the family business, but then more was revealed about him and I grew to like him. He had a fairly difficult past and I pitied him as my likeness for him grew, if that makes sense. One of my favorite things about him was that he loved to tinker with objects, and thought that anything broken could be fixed. It seemed like a refreshing mentality for a character to have. 🙂

the setting

The story took place in Lakeview, North Carolina, and I remember it being mentioned a handful of times in the story but actually had to look it up. However, it doesn’t bother me too much, because description isn’t quite as important in a contemporary. It is, but not as much so as a fantasy, sci-fi, or other genre, if that makes sense. I could imagine the characters and the town, and in a book like this, that’s good enough for me. 🙂

the relationships

It took basically the entire book for me to genuinely like Sydney’s family. I thought her mom was too overbearing and her dad was too submissive, and both irritated me. I wanted her mom to calm down and her dad to speak up, and for both of them to stop and listen to Sydney. However, I did steadily grow to like them in the last couple of chapters, and in the very end I was happy. 🙂

I really liked Sydney’s relationships with both Layla and Mac, respectively. Both were very helpful for her when she was in a rough spot. I loved the open, lighthearted friendship she had with Layla, and the casual, teasing romance she gradually formed with Mac. ❤

the twists

One downside to this story, though, is that there were no real twists. I assumed most of the things that would happen and I was right. It was a very simple story. I didn’t mind too much, but I wouldn’t have minded a surprise or two. 😉


Overall, I enjoyed Saint Anything. It wasn’t perfect or overly complex, but it offered moving topics not often discussed, at least to my knowledge, and showed the value of friends in tough times. While not a favorite, I know that I can trust Dessen if I want any simple contemporaries in the future. 🙂

my rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! 🙂

I’m off to shop and start The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. 🙂 I hope you’re all having a fabulous day/night! ❤

Until next time…

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9 thoughts on “Saint Anything – Review // An Enjoyable And Moving Read

  1. When you mentioned that Mac “loved to tinker with objects, and thought that anything broken could be fixed,” I instantly thought of Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. 😀 And I agree with you on the setting. Most of the time I too can settle with picturing them in a small lovely town. Great review as always, Olivia! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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