Review | Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

“I’d done the right thing. I always did. It just would have been nice if someone had noticed.” 4.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: lollipops, pizza slices, wheelchairs, newspapers, studio time, altered clocks, thrift stores, carousels, creepy “friends” and saints for every possible situation.

Another great Sarah Dessen book. What took me by surprise though was the fact that this was not as sumery as her other books. Surprisingly there were no beaches, lakes or rivers involved. The setting was in Lakeview, but there were no aquatic activities and the kids were in school, so I guess it wasn’t exactly summer. It didn’t bother me because what I like about her books – and you can see it in this book too – is that she writes stories that make you forget about the real world. Her books are so atmospheric that you get immersed in the story and forget all the rest. In this book in particular, I swear at some points I smelled the pizza they were eating – and yes, I got hungry a few times, but can you blame me?

Not only that, but she is really good at triggering her readers’ emotions. The entire book is an emotional rollercoaster! I laughed, I cried, I got scared, I got frustrated, I got angry, and the list goes on. I felt so bad for the main character Sydney and how her parents kept neglecting her and how they treated her near the end. I swear I could feel her pain and frustration for the way she was being treated, all because of her brother’s past actions.

Sarah also writes really good friendships and interesting friends, which I also appreciate. I loved the family that Sydney got close to, who was like a second family to her and was there for her when her parents weren’t. Speaking of characters, Ames really annoyed me. I felt so scared for Sydney when her parents invited him to stay in their house alone with her TWICE. That’s crazy! I would also be scared if I was in her position… he was a creep!

I liked this book because it felt like a complete story. You get a dose of romance, hard hitting moments, a very real and deep backstory and a great setting/atmosphere. Not my favorite book from her, but it’s still a very solid book in my opinion.

xoxo, Neide

My fear of big books

Hi. My name is Neide, I’m twenty five years old and I’m afraid of big books. Big books can be scary and intimidating to pick up if you are used to reading small to medium size books. Maybe you are like me and you are interested in reading some big books because you think they look cool or interesting, but when you look at them you think “well… maybe another day”. That’s how I feel, but at least I know I’m not alone in this because it’s actually a very common feeling amongst readers.

So what is my definition of a big book? Each person has their own idea of what is too much, but for me personally a big book has at least five hundred pages. So why don’t I pick books like this more often? Well, in a nutshell: they look intimidating and I get bored easily. I know some people like big books because they like the experience of spending a lot of time in a specific world, but I feel exactly the opposite. I have a hard time leaving books unfinished if I’m not enjoying them – I’m trying to fight that too, but that’s a topic for another day -, so when I get tired of reading the same book it’s difficult for me to keep myself motivated to continue reading and finish the book.

And yes, I’ve accumulated a bunch of big books that I’m actually interested in reading, but they just sit on my shelves and I never touch them. Below are some examples of big books I really want to read but never picked up – just keep in mind that I have the portuguese editions of each book so that’s why the covers and titles are different, but I’m still going to refer below the original titles.

  1. The Host (A Nómada) – Stephanie Meyer (836 pages)
  2. The Starless Sea (Um Mar Sem Estrelas)  – Erin Morgenstern (528 pages)
  3. The Good Daughter (A Boa Filha) – Karin Slaughter (701 pages)
  4. Imaginary Friend (Amigo Imaginário) – Stephen Chbosky (864 pages)
  5. Pet Sematary (Samitério de Animais) – Stephen King (464 pages)
  6. El Bosque Sabe Tu Nombre (As Filhas da Floresta) – Alaitz Leceaga (624 pages)

You have to admit these books look really good! Stephen King’s Pet Sematary doesn’t reach the five hundred pages mark, but I still decided to include it in this bunch just because it’s not far from being a big book. But the title of champion of big books goes to Stephen Chbosky’s Imaginary Friend, which has eight hundred and sixty four pages! If this is not intimidating, I don’t know what is.

So… this needs to stop. At the beginning of this year I decided to face this fear of mine and finally pick up some big books. I really want to read these until the end of the year and I will do my best to keep my word, even though I know it is going to be tough. The good news is that I usually end up happy for giving a chance to books like this because I know afterwards they were worth the effort. I’m going to practice what I preach, so I decided my goal for August is to read the champion of book pages, Imaginary Friend. I know I will probably struggle, but I will do my best to finish it – yikes, wish me luck!

If you have these first world problems like me, please know you are not alone! I hope this encourages you in any way to get out of your comfort zone. Be brave, grab that book that is waiting for you and you will (probably) not regret it.

Stay healthy and wash your hands!

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

“There is always the rest of the story, right? Even if you don’t know right now what it is.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: sailing, docks, teeth gaps, birth classes, obituaries, club proms, honeymoons, motel rooms, kangaroos, driving lessons, old photographs, home renovation shows, five sentences, ladder buddies, butter and toast, sparklers, storms and walkie talkies.

I didn’t know how much I needed to read a complex, complete novel like this. This was so good! I read a lot of summer books, but it’s difficult to find an amazing one between the thousandths on the market… and to me, this is a great example of a perfect summer book.

It may look like your average summer read, but don’t be fooled! The story is full of details and the characters have depth, and there is an actual meaning and lesson. This is a coming of age story about a girl finding out who she really is by knowing the story of her mother who died when she was little. She lived with her dad her entire life, but she never knew much about her mother’s life and family. Well, at least until she spent a few weeks with her mother’s family during the summer while her father was away. And then she started to understand where she came from and her mother’s story.

The setting was one of my favorite things about this book. The entire book screamed summer and I loved how atmospheric the book was. I was immersed in the story the entire time and I felt like I was there with the family too. There were so many moments where my emotions were triggered because I felt like laughing, crying and sometimes I even got scared. Looking back to other summer books I’ve read before, I see that they can have summery and cutesy elements… but this book is not even in the same league. 

What I also liked so much about this book is that you know it’s a book that took some time to write. You can see the details and effort put in this book through the pages, and that is what makes it so awesome to me. 

I loved everything about this book. I loved the characters – especially Trinity, who may not be very likeable for some people but I loved her -, the details of the story, the writing is perfect, there’s a cute romance in there, there’s a lake… I mean, it’s a perfect summer book.

I think the cherry on top of the cake would be if the book ended with Trinity giving birth and the sergeant coming back, but I’m not mad with the way it ended. 

Take some notes writers, this is how you write an amazing summer book! I need to get my hands on all Sarah Dessen books, ASAP.

xoxo, Neide