Friday, November 19, 2010

Just Listen

Just Listen
Sarah Dessen
371 pages
Rating: 4/5

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 Thoughts:
First of all, this was my first library book in ages.  I'm so excited to have finally worked up the nerve to go to the library and get my card!  Plus, my library is excitingly large.  I'm happy to report that it has many books from many authors that are on my lists.  Woohoo!
Just Listen is a novel by Sarah Dessen that I picked up because I couldn't find another book by Dessen that was on my list.  I was not disappointed.  I greatly enjoyed her novel, and she may be on her way to becoming a favorite author of mine.  I felt that her writing was perfect for this teenage fiction novel.  She wrote in a mixture of past flashbacks and present, and I loved  her storytelling, especially because it was not completely straightforward.  The story was excellent.  Though I guessed most of the plot from the beginning, I read it anyway because I was enchanted by her writing style and her character of Annabel.

Though I've read some reviews that saw Annabel as passive and weak, I did not find her that way at all.  In fact, she is one character I could completely relate with.  In high school (and still some today), I struggle with internalization and the quiet "passive lying" of keeping things to oneself.  Annabel meets Owen, a completely honest person, who challenges her sense of "everything's fine."  I loved the two together.  The story is told in first person, and I greatly enjoyed Annabel's telling of her story.  It really flowed for me.  Put it this way, I read it in an entire night even though I was dizzy and had a headache.  I related to Annabel's sense of trying to keep her problems to herself because she felt that they would be too much for everyone else.  It was exactly what I did in high school.  

I thought Dessen's story was a great one.  I believe that it speaks of many different life lessons, and it talks about many issues I think teenagers face, in fact many adults face.  It speaks of the importance of family, the complications of relationships (both friends and boys), the true meaning of friendships, the struggles of an eating disorder on a family, and the dynamics of sisters in a family.  I was greatly surprised by Dessen's insights into life.  

Ultimately, I loved this story.  I rated it a 4/5 because I really enjoyed it, and I believe I will think of it for many days to come.  It didn't make a 5 simply because I can't see myself rereading it.  But, other than that, I thought it was wonderful.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA fiction and any parents who are looking for good books for their daughters.  I believe Dessen is an incredibly talented author, and I plan to check out many of her other books.  Any suggestions for which one I pick up next?

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me: I must renew my library card as well! Thanks for the review. I've never read anything by Sarah Dessen before. I think I'll check her out.