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Saint Anything
Cover of Saint Anything
Saint Anything
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A New York Times bestsellerA TIME Magazine Top 10 Children's Book of 2015 "Saint Anything is a poignant, honest story about how we might suffer the misfortune of someone else's bad choices, how people...
A New York Times bestsellerA TIME Magazine Top 10 Children's Book of 2015 "Saint Anything is a poignant, honest story about how we might suffer the misfortune of someone else's bad choices, how people...
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Description-

  • A New York Times bestseller
    A TIME Magazine Top 10 Children's Book of 2015
    "Saint Anything is a poignant, honest story about how we might suffer the misfortune of someone else's bad choices, how people who love us can become family when we desperately need it, and how starting over might - miraculously - mean taking a solid leap forward." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling novelist of Leaving Time and My Sister's Keeper

    Sydney has always felt invisible. She's grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family's attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton's serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world.
    Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There's effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who's had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it's with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last.
    Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen's deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.


    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book


    CHAPTER
    1

    "WOULD THE defendant please rise."

    This wasn't an actual question, even though it sounded like one. I'd noticed that the first time we'd all been assembled here, in this way. Instead, it was a command, an order. The "please" was just for show.

    My brother stood up. Beside me, my mom tensed, sucking in a breath. Like the way they tell you to inhale before an X-ray so they can see more, get it all. My father stared straight forward, as always, his face impossible to read.

    The judge was talking again, but I couldn't seem to listen. Instead, I looked over to the tall windows, the trees blowing back and forth outside. It was early August; school started in three weeks. It felt like I had spent the entire summer in this very room, maybe in this same seat, but I knew that wasn't the case. Time just seemed to stop here. But maybe, for people like Peyton, that was exactly the point.

    It was only when my mother gasped, bending forward to grab the bench in front of us, that I realized the sentence had been announced. I looked up at my brother. He'd been known for his fearlessness all the way back to when we were kids playing in the woods behind our house. But the day those older boys had challenged him to walk across that wide, gaping sinkhole on a skinny branch and he did it, his ears had been bright red. He was scared. Then and now.

    There was a bang of the gavel, and we were dismissed. The attorneys turned to my brother, one leaning in close to speak while the other put a hand on his back. People were getting up, filing out, and I could feel their eyes on us as I swallowed hard and focused on my hands in my lap. Beside me, my mother was sobbing.

    "Sydney?" Ames said. "You okay?"

    I couldn't answer, so I just nodded.

    "Let's go," my father said, getting to his feet. He took my mom's arm, then gestured for me to walk ahead of them, up to where the lawyers and Peyton were.

    "I have to go to the ladies' room," I said.

    My mom, her eyes red, just looked at me. As if this, after all that had happened, was the thing that she simply could not bear.

    "It's okay," Ames said. "I'll take her."

    My father nodded, clapping him on the shoulder as we passed. Out in the courthouse lobby, I could see people pushing the doors open, out into the light outside, and I wished more than anything that I was among them.

    Ames put his arm around me as we walked. "I'll wait for you here," he said when we reached the ladies' room. "Okay?"

    Inside, the light was bright, unforgiving, as I walked to the sinks and looked at myself in the mirror there. My face was pale, my eyes dark, flat, and empty.

    A stall door behind me opened and a girl came out. She was about my height, but smaller, slighter. As she stepped up beside me, I saw she had blonde hair, plaited in a messy braid that hung over one shoulder, a few wisps framing her face, and she wore a summer dress, cowboy boots, and a denim jacket. I felt her look at me as I washed my hands once, then twice, before grabbing a towel and turning to the door.

    I pushed it open, and there was Ames, directly across the hallway, leaning against the wall with his arms folded over his chest. When he saw me, he stood up taller, taking a step forward. I hesitated, stopping, and the girl, also leaving, bumped into my back.

    "Oh! Sorry!" she said.

    "No," I told her, turning around. "It was . . . my fault."

    She looked at me for a second, then past my shoulder, at Ames. I watched her green eyes take him in, this stranger, for a long moment before turning her attention back to me. I had never seen her before. But with a single look at her face, I...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 16, 2015
    Sydney Stanford and her family are devastated when her older brother, Peyton, paralyzes a local boy while driving drunk and is sent to jail. Sydney’s mother throws herself into supporting Peyton (while seeming to scarcely acknowledge his guilt), and Sydney switches schools, carrying heavy guilt on behalf of the injured boy, David, and trying to escape the damage Peyton has left in his wake. Sydney’s parents virtually ignore her as they navigate the complicated prison system on Peyton’s behalf, even inviting his older friend Ames into their home, his leering presence making Sydney uneasy. Sydney finds relief with her new friend Layla, Layla’s family and friends, and especially her handsome brother, Mac. Dessen (The Moon and More) delves deeper than ever into the complex dynamics of families suffering loss and confronting changes that upend everything. Once again, Dessen demonstrates her tremendous skill in evoking powerful emotions through careful, quiet prose, while delivering a satisfying romance. The author’s many devotees are sure to enjoy this weighty addition to her canon. Ages 12–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Writers House.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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