By Sarah Dessen
Release Date: 04/06/06
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
MY RATING: 4 STARS
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.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen is definitely a read that is underrated. With a sweet romance story layered with darker secrets, Just Listen is definitely a must read. Not only for young adults themselves, but for any reader.
We start the story with our characters. As all books have characters, the first things noticed is the characters. Annabel, our main character is a well rounded character with a sweet personality. Personally I felt that at times her character could be whiny or needy, but all characters hold flaws and though perhaps Annabel would have been better off without her whiny neediness, it didn’t disrupt her character too much. I really liked Annabel. Our other main character is “tall, dark, and music-obsessed.” Owen is even more rounded than Annabel, at least I found this to be true. Owen has style, he has attitude, and he has morals, not to mention he never lies. I found all of these characteristics made him even more realistic as a whole.
We all like a well paced novel. Sometime we prefer fast paced, sometimes medium, it really depends. Just Listen is type of novel with ups and downs but keeping a continuously medium pace that keeps you hooked. Throughout the book you are kept wondering all the who’s and the what’s but by the end, it all makes sense. This was one of my favorite things about Just Listen.
As a final wrap up, let’s talk about the world building. Dessen obviously isn’t a fantasy author, but the world of Just Listen extends to nearly all of her books. And that is one of my favorite things about Just Listen. Just Listen has a world with characters from Dessen’s other books and I thought that was a nice touch. Overall, Just Listen was an amazing story with sweet characters and a great underlying message.