Note: this is a reflection on the excerpt I've read as provided to me from NetGalley. If I get a full galley of the book or if I pre-order the book and end up reading it, I'll add the full review to my reflections. Although I would give the excerpt 3.5 stars for my experience of it, I'm leaving this unrated for the time being.
I think this is the first review/reflection I've written on a book by Sarah Dessen. I know some people who swear by her books. While I'm familiar with them, I'm probably seeing this work through something of novice eyes, so I can't say I have the same familiarity as others may have. This excerpt contained the first three chapters of "Saint Anything" - painting a picture of the troubles that Sydney's family endures as her brother turns into someone that the family doesn't recognize - a boy who gets into trouble with the law despite multiple chances to improve. Sydney's narration depicts the grief shared by her parents at her brother's transformation, as well as her adjustment as she moves to high school and meets a group of people at a pizza place shortly after her first day at a new high school. Dessen's characterization is vivid and I gain an understanding of Sydney's mindset and circumstances from the first page, though there are certain details that are at a distance that I don't quite understand yet, but I imagine they'll be provided as we get to know Sydney through the narrative.