I continue to benefit immensely from my fiance’s job, this time by having an advanced copy of a book by one of my favorite authors six whole months before its release date. Hooray!
Saint Anything is (or will be, heh heh) the latest from Sarah Dessen, the story of young Sydney Stanford’s life after her brother Peyton leaves a local boy paralyzed because of a drunk driving accident. Sydney decides to leave her gossip-filled, hoity-toity private school life behind and start anew at the local public school, where she makes a quick new friend in Layla Chatham. Layla’s family runs Seaside Pizza, where Sydney starts spending a lot of time and where she meets Layla’s brother Mac, a.k.a. the love interest. (Many chapters take place inside this pizzeria, creating the most unbelievably insatiable craving for pizza I’ve ever had.)
While Sydney’s parents continue to struggle with their son’s criminal tendencies and consequent prison sentence, Sydney finally feels like she has a life of her own and is surrounded by people who really see her. Unfortunately, her high-strung mother is not a huge fan of these new buddies, especially after she catches them “drinking” in the house when they come home early from a Peyton visit. (I put “drinking” in quotation marks because only one person present was drinking, and Sydney happened to take one sip at the precise moment her parents walked in the door. Bad luck.) A severe punishment of Sydney ensues, and is only revoked when they realize one of Peyton’s friends whom they thought they trusted has basically been sexually harassing Sydney in their own home.
Saint Anything is a bit like Dessen’s Lock & Key, in a good way — a bit slow paced, but major life changes occurring without the main characters even realizing it. Interestingly enough, I find myself siding with the parents of teenagers in a lot of these books (and movies and TV shows) lately, but this time I sided with the teenager (which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing?) — I did not feel that Sydney’s parents were being good parents. They were focusing entirely on the criminal brother while his friend was creeping on their daughter, and when they discovered she had a new life/was actually happy, they punished her for it. Not cool.
So, when this comes out in May and everyone who doesn’t have advanced-copy privileges can read it, I highly recommend it! (Sorry, that was obnoxious.)