Saint Anything was the final book on my summer reads TBR (even though I started it in September…) and I’m so glad it ended on a high. A novel about ‘family, self-discovery and change’, Saint Anything was a spectacular end to the summer.
Sydney feels invisible compared to her accomplished older brother Peyton, even when his rebellious behaviour ends in a tragic accident that leaves a boy in a wheelchair and Peyton with a prison sentence. Left feeling angry and guilty, Sydney can’t understand why her parents only care about Peyton’s well-being. To get away from being known only as his sister, Sydney starts a new school and stumbles into the chaotic life of the Chatham family. She becomes close friends with siblings Layla and Mac, who work in the family pizza place. As she spends more time with them, Sydney finally begins to explore who she is.
Saint Anything may be sold as a contemporary romance story – the slow-building romance between Sydney and Mac is wonderful – but I adored watching Sydney discover who she is outside of her brother’s shadow. Sydney constantly struggles with what Peyton has done. She is compassionate, thoughtful and feels guilty on behalf of her brother; she bears the weight of the world on her shoulders. Sydney wants to put everything right, but feels powerless to do so. Enter, the Chatham family.
The Chathams are the sort of family we all wish we knew. Even though they barely know Sydney, they accept her straight away into their close-knit circle. It’s here that Sydney finds support and discovers that even though the family has their own problems – from older sister Rosie’s drug conviction to their mother’s daily struggles with multiple sclerosis – they keep on going, and they’ll happily take Sydney with them.
It wasn’t until I finished the book and was persuading Debbie to read it that we noticed how similar it was to My Life Next Door, another summer read that I adored this year. But even though the stories may echo each other, they’re both full of unique, colourful characters and have a very different feel to them. I adored both, and they’re up there with my favourite young adult contemporary stories. Perfect for all seasons, Saint Anything is a brilliant story about one girl’s determination to be herself.
Published: May 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (US) Penguin Books (UK)
Source: Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!