'Saint Anything' - Sarah Dessen
I'm 20 years old. And my parents are constantly telling me that I am getting way too old to be reading young adult fiction novels. But despite their constant drill, I have held out, waiting patiently for Sarah Dessen's next book. If you have never read any of her work, I highly suggest you do.
Have you ever read from an author who you feel like just gets you? He/she just writes about things in their books that are just completely relatable in some way, shape, or form? Well, up until I discovered Dessen, I never really knew an author I loved and could instantly identify as my favourite author.
But then I found her books, and I found my favourite author.
I have many of her books in my possession, and I have burned through them all in less than two days most of the time. Her novels are understandable, and simple to read. That might eventually pose as a problem when I'm older, but for now, it is no problem at all. In fact, I find it comforting that as my own world gets more and more complicated, that some worlds will not.
Now, before I continuing gushing about her, let's get into the book, Saint Anything.
In a short summary, this book is about a teenage girl in high school who has always felt overshadowed by her older brother. Her older brother has been the center of her family's life since the beginning, and that meant her parents often overlooked her own needs. But then she transfers schools, and she falls into a group of people who have a vastly different dynamic than her past. They are accepting, warm, and loud. Evidently, she falls in love, but she also finds herself.
This book, if you read as a young teen, may just seem like a good book to you.
But if you read this book at around my age, or even older, it may seem different.
To me, this book is about redemption. It is about forgiving yourself and to learn to step out of the shadows of the past. It is about learning to live in the moment. It's about making the right choices, but also making choices that you feel are necessary. It is about friendship, and how invisibility may seem like a great super power, but isn't always the best solution to a problem. It's about a world where nothing is perfect, but it can become perfect if you dwell on the right moments.
Maybe Dessen didn't really intend on having this book mean the above meanings stated. But isn't that the beauty of fiction? Every individual can derive his/her own meaning from it, and hold it in their hearts the way they want it to be held.
This book is, no doubt, a good book and perhaps a quick read at my age. But I love it for that.
I love how, at the very last page, it has a beautifully thought out ending and how it poses questions for the reader, even after the book is finished and Sydney's (the main character) story ends (it doesn't really end...but we can say it does).
This book is truly a masterpiece and, if you have never read any of Dessen's work, perhaps you should begin with this book.
I have admired Dessen's work since the beginning, and it isn't only because she can tell a good story.
But it is also because within her novels, there are little sayings that everyone can relate to.
In this novel, I found one say which, I hope if she ever reads this review, won't mind me writing it down on my blog here.
The saying is this: "When faced with the scariest of things, all you want is to turn away, hide in your own invisible place. But you can't. That's why it's not only important for us to be seen, but to have someone to look for us, as well." (p. 401)
On that note, I hope you do pick up this book. It is truly an amazing book and a wonderful collection to my Dessen book self.