“Saint Anything” by Sarah Dessen

SAint Anything

This 2015 release by Sarah Dessen was more serious, contemplative, and reflective than her numerous other novels, such as Along for the Ride, This Lullaby, Just Listen, and Lock and Key. The story focuses on teenage girl Sydney Stanford, who has always been overshadowed by her popular brother Peyton. While in high school, Peyton started going down a bad path after he started experimenting with drugs, shoplifting, and drinking. This eventually results in Peyton getting sent to prison after he seriously injures a boy one night while driving under the influence. Sydney feels ignored by her family, especially her mother, as her parents try to connect with Peyton in prison. She feels ashamed of Peyton’s bad behavior and is the only person in her family who feels guilty about what happened to the boy, David Ibarra, who ended up paralyzed as a result of the accident.

One day, Sydney meets the Chatham family and they help give her advice on how to deal with her family and the accident, as they have gone through a similar situation. She begins to spend time with the Chatham family to escape the problems in her own family. Sydney develops a deep friendship with them, and their friendship is tested at the end of the novel.

This is one of Dessen’s more serious novels, as one of the main conflicts is between Sydney and her mother about focusing less on Peyton in prison and more on what is happening to Sydney. There is a slight theme of love, but it is not the main focus of the novel and plays a little role in the development of the plot unlike in some of Dessen’s other novels, such as This Lullaby. The theme of family is prevalent throughout the novel, especially how family must support one another through hardships. This new release gives readers insight of how difficult it is for families to stay together after a life changing event. Fans of Dessen’s will not be disappointed, and those who are interested in realistic teen fiction should check out Saint Anything if they are looking for a good read.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Caylee P.

“January (Conspiracy 365)” by Gabrielle Lord

January 365

A thrilling series about 15 year-old Callum Ormond, who gets a dire warning one New Year’s Eve, “They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days!” Still mourning the loss of his dad, Cal is thrust into a life on the run, where he alone is hunted by both the law and ruthless criminals after being framed for the horrific assault of his sister and uncle.

Why I picked it up: I was intrigued by the idea of a series of 12 books, each one containing a month’s worth of adventure and danger.

Why I finished it: It was a very quick read, and I am a sucker for a good mystery. Especially when it includes cryptic drawings, a riddle, and jewels!!

I’d give it to: Fans of the Thirty-Nine Clues series or even the TV show “24” would enjoy the twists and chills. I would especially recommend the series to any reluctant reader who prefers action to dialogue. The pages are numbered in reverse order, so it’s a literal countdown to the end of the book.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Lori Kerce