Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

My Review:

I read Just Listen for the second time, and since I hadn't written a review when I read it before, I'm writing it now.  It has been a while since I read this book, so rereading it felt like reading it for the first time, except I had a general sense of what would happen.  I loved this book so much.  The story and the characters are simply amazing.


Annabel is a great main character.  It is interesting to see the juxtaposition of her life versus the life of the person she appeared to be in a department store commercial.  In the commercial, she has many friends and a boyfriend.  In real life, she has neither.  One night changed everything for her.  The night that changed things was the night she got caught with her best friend, Sophie's, boyfriend, Will.  Sophie never asked Annabel what really happened that night, and Annabel hasn't told anybody.  It is also amazing to see the changes that occur in Annabel as the story progresses, and she finds some new friends.  She is able to find the courage to tell what happened to her.

Owen is a great character as well.  Annabel has many preconceived notions about him due to rumors she's heard.  He has gotten into a fight at school, and he's had to go to Anger Management classes.  Despite this, he is actually a sweet guy, but very opinionated about music.  He believes that, when it comes to music, he is enlightened.  He has a radio show that plays obscure music that Annabel doesn't like.  He tries to get her to like more genres of music.  He also is extremely honest, and he expects everyone else to be completely honest too, which can be hard for Annabel at times, because there are things she doesn't want to talk about.  The relationship between him and Annabel is a friendship for most of the book, with hints of something more.

There is also a strong family component in this book.  Both her parents and her two sisters have roles to play in the story.  She is the youngest of her sisters.  It is clear that her sisters, Whitney and Kirsten, don't always get along, but they still love each other.  Whitney and Kirsten are opposites.  Whitney is the who has an eating disorder who is more closed off from everyone.  Kirsten is the one who loves to share everything about her life.  There are some good scenes with Annabel and her sisters.

If you like contemporary YA, read this book.


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