Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Annabel Green 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 silent 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?

My review:

For awhile now, I've read and heard glowing reviews of Sarah Dessen's books. Last summer I read This Lullaby, which I really enjoyed. When I asked "which book is your favorite?", the responses were always Just Listen and The Truth About Forever.

Initially, my intent was to read Just Listen, however when I noticed my library owned the audio book, I decided to listen to it instead. In a way, I'm glad that I did. The narrator, Jennifer Ikeda, did a fantastic job of portraying Annabel. As Annabel shared the events that occurred on that fateful night, I forgot I was listening to a book, but felt I was actually hearing Annabel tell her story.

For me, the best part of the story was Annabel's relationship with Owen. Their friendship started out cautiously and grew to be very supportive. Ms. Dessen did an excellent job with pacing Annabel and Owen getting to know each other.

While listening to the story, I began thinking about how important it is to have someone listen to what you have to say. For Annabel, she didn't believe anyone would listen, let alone believe her about why she is no longer friends with Sophie. Instead she bottled her secret and kept quiet until she was too afraid to share her story. Annabel likes to keep the peace in her relationships, which causes her to shy away from telling people how she truly feels. As she begins to trust Owen, she sees that being honest doesn't have to be something she fears or the reason she may lose something. Honesty will lead to acceptance, closure and free her from the box she has been suffocating in.

I highly recommend this book. Ms. Dessen is a great author. Though her targeted audience is young adults, I believe adult readers will be impressed with her ability to bring characters to life.

Book details:
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-241097-4
Pages: 371
Year Published: 2006
Genre: YA Fiction
Date Finished: July 31
Rating: A+


  1. I really love Sarah Dessen's work, but haven't read this one. I'll have to give it a try!

  2. I haven't read any of her books yet, but I look forward to reading her books soon since I've one of them in my pile. :)