Book Review: Just Listen
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
From the cover:
Annabel Greene is the girl who has everything. At least, that’s what she portrays in her modeling shoots. But Annabel’s life is far from perfect. Her friendship with Sophie ended bitterly, and her older sister’s eating disorder is weighing down the entire family. Isolated and ostracized at school and at home, Annabel retreats into silen acceptance. Then she meets Owen–intense, music-obsessed, and determined to always tell the truth. And with his guidance, Annabel learns to just listen to herself and gains the courage to speak honestly. But will she be able to tell everyone what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends?
Sarah Dessen is one of those names I hear tossed around a lot, but I haven’t read anything by her until this one. To put it simply, Just Listen reminded me of why I hated high school so much. That’s not to say I disliked the book or anything, but it did dig up some old memories.
I’ll admit I was a little indifferent at the beginning of the book because of the groundwork that was being laid down. I was in an antsy book mood and I just wanted the action to start (patience is not one of my virtues). But I’m glad I stuck with the book because it turned out better than I had expected it to be.
After reading the book I can definitely see why so many people are on the Dessen band wagon. She knows how to write great books with realistic characters confronting challenges that are faced by teenagers today. Many of the characters in the book are probably people that you went to high school with. The way the characters behaved and reacted to certain situations reminded me of what high school was like back in the day.
Although I enjoyed the book and liked most of the characters, I had a hard time rooting for Annabel. Her passiveness was aggravating and frustrating at times and I couldn’t understand why she would let Sophie push her around like that. I know she didn’t like confrontation, but I wish she had more of a backbone and stood up for herself at times. Owen made up for what Annabel lacked and his honesty and rawness made the book for me.
If you’re looking for a quick read about friendship, family, and relationships, then you might want to pick up Just Listen. It’s a young adult novel and it’s geared more towards that age range, but I could see adults enjoying it too.