Saint X - Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X

By Alexis Schaitkin

  • Release Date: 2020-02-18
  • Genre: Family
Score: 3.5
From 54 Ratings


"'Saint X' is hypnotic. Schaitkin's characters...are so intelligent and distinctive it feels not just easy, but necessary, to follow them. I devoured [it] in a day."
–Oyinkan Braithwaite, New York Times Book Review

"A smart, socially conscious thriller that will take you away."
People Magazine, Book of the Week

When you lose the person who is most essential to you, who do you become?

Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America's 20 Books We're Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue's Best Books to Read This Winter, Bustle's Most Anticipated Books of February 2020, and O Magazine's 14 of the Best Books to Read This February!

Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another.

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local menemployees at the resortare arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truthnot only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that culminates in an emotionally powerful ending.


  • Uhh

    By sazak89
    I was hooked till almost the end...terrible.
  • Literary Suspense with beautiful writing and characters you won’t forget

    By Skootch's mom
    When I began reading Saint X I was caught up in the underlying mystery of Allison, the sister who has gone missing. But quickly you realize that this novel is much more than that. It’s a haunting and beautiful commentary on who we are when the person we are closest with is no loner with us. Following the characters of Claire/Emily and Clive the author shows what happened to their lives over the years since the island’s tragedy. Schaitkin is masterful with her descriptions of the setting and the characters and you begin to really forget about the mystery and focus on their needs and lives. Some folks have said this novel is a thriller. It is not. It’s so much more than that. You’ll savor each page and won’t want to rip through this. Book clubs will have a ton to discuss. Mine will be reading it in March. Can’t wait.
  • Too many POVs and a lot of commentary

    By marshmallowsmoke
    ~Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!~ Even after finishing Saint X, I'm still unsure what the book was supposed to be. Mystery? Thriller? Psychological? I had a hard time starting and finishing this book because it felt like it took forever to get to the actual plot. It was tedious at first, the first chapter being a long account of things that led up to Alison’s death and what happened with her sister Emily/Claire and their family afterwards. The second chapter was similarly tedious since it was just Claire describing her life post-Alison’s death, such as where their family moved to next, what guys she dated, what she did for work, etc. So much of this was unnecessary. The author Alexis Schaitkin had a lovely writing style which I really enjoyed! Her description of New York in Clive’s POV was absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite parts in the book. But even though I enjoyed Schaitkin’s writing style, I didn’t like how her book was bogged down by just how long it was and how slow the plot was. Based on the blurb, I thought this book would be a thriller about Claire trying to get closer to Clive to learn the truth of her older sister Alison’s disappearance and death. I thought Claire would struggle with hiding who she truly was and would eventually discover that Clive isn’t who she thought he was. Claire did struggle, but her relationship and all her scenes with Clive went in a very different direction than where I thought it would go. The book can be summarized as a lot of commentary that just doesn’t go anywhere and is about anything and everything, from race to sibling relationships to gender. Many pages would be full of this commentary, and it seemed pointless and was not at all a connection to Alison. For much of the book, Alison realizes how privileged she and her family are and disapproves of how they all flaunt their wealth to other people that aren’t privileged. Although I liked that Alison was aware of this, I was tired of reading pages and pages dedicated to this realization. I felt as though the author was trying to make some certain points about the rich and the gap between the rich and the poor, but these points took away from the main plot of the book with Claire, Clive, and Alison. Almost every time, whenever the book finally seemed like it was going in the right direction, it would once again return to commentary all over again. There were so many POVs as well that I never got to truly know any character because by the next chapter, you were usually in the POV of someone else, even someone completely new. When I finally learned the truth about Alison, it was so underwhelming, like I had to crawl to get there. I didn’t like the truth or the twist because there was barely any building up to it. I didn’t even like any character. Claire in particular was frustrating and obsessed with Clive (and Alison, despite her death many years ago) to the point where she did less and less of her work and got fired for it. Claire was practically Clive’s stalker. While I wouldn’t recommend Saint X to anyone expecting a fast-paced thriller, I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a lot of character thoughts and social commentary, with only hints at the mystery of Alison’s death from the side.