BOOK REVIEW | Saint Anything

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary from Barnes and Noble:

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.

Review:

Sarah Dessen has a knack for taking hard hitting topics and making them seem relatable, even if you have never been in the situation covered or known someone who has.  These books take you to a place where you can remember a feeling you had once upon a time and allow you to empathize with a character and family you have never meet in your lifetime.  They allow you to relate to a situation that many hope to never experience.  That in itself is incredible, especially when many think that Young Adult contemporary literature is made of fluff and rainbows.

Saint Anything focuses on the life of Sydney, a girl who seems to be stuck in the shadow of a brother who is an addict, a brother who made choices that set his life on a drastically different path than hers.  Throughout the story it becomes very apparent that to her family Peyton, her older brother, is the sole focus and to some extent that is needed.  Dessen makes the reader aware of how one person’s choices effect the choices and decision of those around us by examining the relationship between Sydney, Peyton and their parents. Sydney from the start is seen as invisible to her family and in some cases she likes it that way.  But soon it became very much a story of finding a way to be seen and heard through the chaos.  Sydney is a character that finds a way to speak her mind and make herself seen to those around her simply by finding herself and in true Sarah Dessen form, ends up being a character that pulls at the readers heart strings and makes them empathize with a character whose traits they have seen in the people around them, if not in themselves.

Although Sydney is the main character is this story, the other characters find themselves becoming the prominent character throughout different parts of the book.  I have always felt that Dessen had a flair for making readers aware of the strings that hold everyon’es lives together.  When one string is cut or tugged or tied to another it sends ripples through the rest of the strings we are touching.  Saint Anything captured the most intensely beautiful idea that there is always at least one other person who can, if you will, feel when our string is being tugged or cut.

As a final thought I think it’s important to add that books like this in the YA contemporary genre start a discussion. They present the reader with the idea that YA contemporary can be fluff and rainbows but it can also dissect the lives of those around us.  Saint Anything presents situations like substance abuse, terminal illness, friendship and finding who you are and makes them relatable to the general public.  Books like this cause us to think and examine the relationships we form with those around us and why we chose the people that we did.  Dessen and so many other authors in the YA contemporary genre use books like Saint Anything to allow people to have their voices heard and to me that is the greatest and most incredible thing literature can do. I encourage everyone to pick up this incredible book.

TRENDING TOPICS | Zoella and the Facts About Ghost Writing

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Background Information:

Zoella, a popular YouTuber who posts beauty and fashion videos as well as vlogs, recently released a book called Girl Online.  The book sold more than J.K. Rowling AND Dan Brown’s debut books did, coming in at a whopping 78,000 books sold in the first week it was released.  The book focuses on a girl named Penny who, like many YouTubers, has an alternate personality online where she talks about school, boys, drama, etc.  But then Penny meets Noah and everything gets interesting! (Side note:  I have not read this book).  Shortly after it’s release, Zoella admitted that she had a ghost writer, author Siobhan Curham, help her with the book.  It should be noted that Siobhan Curham, while not credited on the front of the book, is given acknowledgment in the “Acknowledgement” section at the end of the book.

“everyone at Penguin for helping me put together my first novel, especially Amy Alward and Siobhan Curham, who were with me every step of the way”.

Since releasing this information, Zoella (or Zoe Sugg), has received an insane amount of backlash for her decision to use a ghost writer on the book.

Facts About Ghost Writing:

While Zoe Sugg is definitely not the first or the last person to use a ghost writer, people seem to think that ghost writing isn’t as popular as it currently is.  So here are some facts about ghost writing!

  • When a ghost writer is hired an agreement is made that they will work WITH you to help start and complete the work.  After the work is finished a ghost writer usually signs over all copyrights to the work.
  • Ghost writers for books MIGHT be listed as co-authors or as an editor for the book but are more often than not listed in the acknowledgements page.
  • Authors such as V.C Andrews, H.P. Lovecraft and many others have used ghostwriters to help them finish or start some of their works.  Occasionally, as in the case of V.C. Andrews, the ghost writer continues writing under the authors name after the author has passed.

Many authors have used ghost writers before and as long as the ghost writer is credited for helping with the work in some way, whatever was agreed to, then everything is just fine.

What are your thoughts about the ghost writing situation with Girl Online? Sound off below!