Amanda Reads: Saint Anything

Oh, the feelings. Internet people, I cannot tell you how I felt when I learned that Sarah Dessen FINALLY had a new book coming out. I first starting reading Dessen when I was in seventh grade and my language arts teacher recommended her to me. I spent the next few weeks systematically reading through every single Sarah Dessen book that was in our class library. Ever since, I’ve been a huge fan, reading and re-reading Just Listen (my personal favorite) and The Truth about Forever. In fact, I’m such a huge fan that I actually went on a road trip to Naperville, Illinois so I could meet her. Proof:
me and sarah dessenThat was back in my tan college days when I still did things like go outside, but I think you can still totally tell that’s me with Sarah Dessen! Side note, cupcakes happened afterwards. Any day with cupcakes is a great day, but cupcakes and getting a book signed by one of your heroes is what I call a PERFECT day.

cupcakes
Cupcakes from Sugar Monkey bakery in Naperville.

Anyways, back to the point of this post: Saint Anything. This book was a big deal to me because, a few summers ago, I tried (and failed) to read The Moon and More. I just couldn’t get into it. I couldn’t decide if the problem was the book itself or if I was (heaven forbid) outgrowing my favorite author. Something about the struggles of trying to choose a college, the fears about applications just didn’t resonate with me at that time in my life. I was in college. I had applied to one school, been accepted, and went there. I felt I had nothing in common with the narrator, and I eventually gave up on the book, even if it is the one that eventually inspired me to try a shrimp burger in North Carolina.

Actual photo of my first ever shrimp burger
Actual photo of my first ever shrimp burger

Fast forward to the present day. When I saw Dessen tweeting about the new book, and about how close it was to her and about how she was trying something a little different, well… I knew it was time to try again. I bought the book (on my Kindle, of all things) the day it was released and tore through it. It was exactly what I needed to cure me of my deep, depressing book slump. Saint Anything has all of the components that make Dessen’s books great–a believable, human narrator, romantic interest, real friendships between young women, and family tension. What I liked about this book was that it took less focus on the romantic aspects and more focus on the larger struggles of the narrator. There was enough of a shift from previous work that I was pleasantly surprised by some aspects of the plot. I kept bracing myself for the “our narrator does something stupid to lose the guy” part that always made me cringe (seriously, it’s a pattern), even when I knew it would be overcome in the end. I don’t want any spoilers, but let’s just say that other things and other issues were allowed to take the forefront here. The writing, as always, sparkles with quiet wisdom.

I think we should all drop everything and read this book. Seriously, I’ll join you–I’m quite ready for round two.

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