Staff Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Book cover for Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Have you ever felt invisible? Sydney Stanford has. The story starts with Peyton, her exciting, charismatic older brother being sentenced to prison for driving while under the influence and causing serious injury to a young man. Instead of returning to her posh, private school Sydney decides to go to Jackson High, the local public school. Feeling adrift her first day at a noisier, bigger and unfamiliar school Sydney looks for something familiar and finds herself at Seaside Pizza. There she meets the Chatham family and her life begins to change.

First, there is Layla who welcomes Sydney as a friend and welcomes her into her circle. Then there is Mac who is quiet and shy and plays drums in a band (possible romantic interest?). Mrs. Chatham is the matriarch of the family and suffers from MS. However, as Sydney begins to build her life away from the influence of her brother and her family, things at home get more complicated. Her mother is trying to pretend that life is normal and plans cookouts and get-togethers at the prison where Peyton is. Meanwhile, Ames Bentley, Peyton’s best friend and sponsor, continually makes Sydney uncomfortable with his continual presence and unwanted attention. In the end, however, Sydney steps out of the shadows and finds herself, her voice and shows her parents that she is her own person and is through living in the shadow of her brother.

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. Her main audience is teens and this is her twelfth book. I loved this book. Sydney, the main character, is well developed and as in any other well written book becomes someone you care about and are rooting for. The struggles she has are ones that anyone who felt like an awkward teen just looking for a place to belong can relate to. The new relationships she starts with the Chatham family are healthy and good and give her the self confidence she needs to recognize the relationships at home that are not. As with any other book by Sarah Dessen, it ends with the characters in a place where they begin understanding each other and want to heal and move on. It’s a book I wanted to take my time with and I was sad when it was over.

Pick up a copy of Saint Anything today.

Staff Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

me and earl

Ever read a book that made you laugh at loud on nearly every page, and you feel like an idiot reading it in public because people might think you’re a little insane? Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one of those books. As the title suggests, this is a book about a teenager, his sort-of friend Earl, and a dying girl.

Greg Gaines is a senior in high school, and he’s managed to get through the past few years by blending in with all the cliques and never getting too close to anyone. This is no easy feat; it takes hard work and constant vigilance to melt with ease through the various social groups. On his first day of senior year, he realizes that maybe all that hard work will pay off and his final year will be awesome. That is, until he gets home from school and his mom drops the bomb: a girl he went to Hebrew school with has leukemia and Greg should really spend some time with her. Thus begins the story of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Continue reading “Staff Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”

Star Wars Read-A-Thon: The Original Trilogy

When I was about ten years old, I had an omnibus edition of the original Star Wars Trilogy novelizations that I read so many times it fell apart. I have memories of accompanying Mom to work, and hiding in tucked away corners of the hallway with that book propped up on my knees. For a little while, I was no longer an awkard school kid waiting for my Mom to finish working; I was a Jedi in training in a galaxy far, far away. That was one of my first donations to the library, before it dawned on me that any book in such poor condition would probably be thrown out. I had to buy another copy of course, and my shiny new omnibus is what I’ve been re-reading this year.

starwarstrilogy book cover
^^Laurel’s shiny new omnibus!^^

General warning: I’m assuming most people are at least a little familiar with Star Wars, at least the ones who would be interested in this read-a-thon, so there will be Spoilers below.

In this review:

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, by George Lucas

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, by Donald F. Glut

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, by James Kahn

Continue reading “Star Wars Read-A-Thon: The Original Trilogy”

Staff Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Cover Image

One snowy day, Mia and her family went for a drive when the accident happened – and life would never be the same. Her parents were killed instantly, her younger brother went to one hospital while Mia was medivac-ed to a critical care unit in another hospital. While in a coma at the hospital, Mia is aware of what is going on around her – and she has a decision to make – should she let go and join her family or should she stay knowing she’ll be alone. As Mia contemplates her decision, she reminisces about happier times in her past and listens in as her extended family and friends talk to her and to the medical professionals who are taking care of her. Continue reading “Staff Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman”