Tag Archives: contemporary

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen Review

Title: Saint Anythingsaint_anything-540x822

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars




 

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.




 

I’ve read seven of Sarah Dessen’s books, now eight and I’ve always been a huge fan. Her books are super cute and fun to read. I usually reserve her books for my summer time reading, but I finished this one in March because I wanted to get it out of the way before her new novel comes out.

This one fell a little short for me, but the writing was fantastic and it’s one of Dessen’s more mature novels, as in the plot is something an adult may experience and I felt like Sydney was very mature for her age, even for a YA character. She’s gone through something life changing that not many teens her age have to deal with, which makes her seem wise beyond her years.

I’m guilty of loving ‘insta-love’ and this book was not that at all like Dessen’s other books. This novel is more of a story of friendship, to my surprise I loved seeing Sydney’s interactions with the Chatham’s (mainly Layla, Mac and Mrs. Chatham).

You know what’s nice? Seeing our main character interact with her parents. It’s a pet peeve of mine when parents are only mentioned in one scene of a YA novel. In this novel, we see her parents in almost every chapter. I can’t stand her mother’s opinions and choices, but it’s nice to still know she is a teenager and someone’s at home worrying about her.

Was anyone else thoroughly creeped out by Ames from the very beginning?!  Way to go Mrs. Dessen for coming up with the most unsettling character I’ve ever encountered in your books!

The character development in this novel was excellent. Dessen manages to pull us into a scene and then give us some backstory on the character and then get us back into the scene again.

However, if you’re looking for a cute summer love story like we’re used to from Dessen, you’re not going to find it in this one. The romance doesn’t begin until the novel is over 75% of the way through and we don’t see much either, just a few kisses. Mac seemed like the only underdeveloped character because of this. I really wanted to see more back story with his weight and why it didn’t work out with his ex girlfriend. I probably would have given this a perfect rating had their been more of a relationship like I’m used to while reading Dessen novels.

Dessen did give us a great ending though, solving most of Sydney’s problems up in the final chapter… well except for the one…

Anyone planning on reading Once and For All!? I have it on preorder!

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend Book Review

Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend51bshpugrel__sx350_bo1204203200_

Author: Kasie West

Genre: Contemporary YA

Rating: 4/5 Stars




 

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.




 

Spoilers in this review!

Apparently, this wasn’t the first book that I’ve read by Kasie West but I was surprisingly pleased by this one. It was on sale for a few bucks on Kindle, so I got a copy without really knowing what it was about.

At first, I wasn’t a fan of Gia, but she grew on me… West did a great job with that. Though her friends were horrible, I really just wanted her to be done with them. I loved how West never really gave us a resolution with the end, but it still felt okay that her and her friends weren’t on good terms when the book ended. Gia was always just the girl who wanted to be perfect at everything, even being a girlfriend, but once Hayden came into the picture, things changed. She became a likeable character.

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I’m a huge fan of ‘istalove’ in YA contemporary but that didn’t happen in this one. We don’t actually have Hayden and Gia get together until toward the end of the novel, to my surprise, I actually liked that and it was very realistic. There were times I wanted to punch Hayden and there were times that I thought he was THE most amazing (fictional) boyfriend that I’ve ever read. Seriously, he was so kind and compassionate, I assume he got that from living with his single mother and his younger sister. Hayden had my heart melting throughout this novel…

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As for the real Bradley, I’m glad he only existed in two to three scenes, he seemed like a slimeball.

Gia’s parents really bothered me (as did her brother), her father was so passive about everything and her mother was a control freak, robot who wanted her kids to behave a certain way without expressing themselves. I really wanted to see Gia break down her mother’s walls toward the end, just a little bit more.

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Fill-In Boyfriend now puts me 5 books ahead on my reading challenge! I think it’s going to be a great year of reading for me! If you’ve read any of Kasie West’s books, which one should I check out next?

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