So I’m a hardcore fan of Sarah Dessen’s novels. Honestly, I’ll recommend them to pretty much everyone. From Just Listen to Dreamland to my personal favorite Lock and Key, Sarah Dessen covers a variety of different issues faced by teenage girls and captures their struggles and thoughts perfectly while making them relatable. She takes serious issues like sexual violence and abusive relationships and makes them understandable to a reader that probably hasn’t dealt with it. Now, I only speak from that side, having been lucky enough to not go through those traumatic events or dealt with close to what these characters go through and I know it’s a much more complicated process to deal with the emotions that come with those experiences that aren’t touched in a young adult novel. However, I think that Sarah Dessen manages to convey her character’s issues in a way that each reader can connect with them somehow.
I just finished reading her newest novel Saint Anything and I honestly was a little scared of what I would find, but I was not let down. It’s easily gone into my top three. For the past week I couldn’t help but think of Sydney’s situation. I was brought back to Sydney’s feeling of being invisible to her parents and the rest of the world, and then to the first time that she felt really seen, which I was fortunate enough to experience with her. It was truly wonderful to walk alongside Sydney as she made real friendships and dealt with problems that I know I dealt with too. As she met Layla and Mac and finally began to become the person she had been hiding away I found that it was really amazing. It was their friendship that brought Sydney into the light, and made her feel it. She went from essentially being invisible most of the book, hidden in the shadow of her troubled brother’s big life, to finally being seen and doing what was important to her unapologetically, and most of all, having people to finally do that for.
If you want a story that reminds you how much you love your friends and tells you just how important it is to have friends that build you up, this one is an immediate must.