Her best friend dropped her very publicly due to a horrible misunderstanding (more on that later), shes tired of modeling but afraid to drop it because of her mother (who sometimes suffers from depression; she needs Annabel to keep modeling more than Annabel needs the jobs because it keeps her active and involved), and her family life is no picnic either. Yes, they are a loving family, but everything is focused on Whitney, her older sister, who is suffering under an eating disorder.
So Annabel just tries to keep up a good front for her family, even though inside shes falling a little bit more apart every day. Then, enter Owen. As an aside, just let me say that, of all the male characters Ive read about recently, Owen is one of the only ones Id really love to meet.
Owen has some issues of his own, but hes got his head (mostly) in the right place. And most importantly, Owen doesnt keep anything back. Hes completely honest. Yes, you read that right. If you ask him if you look fat in that outfit, and you do, hell tell you. He encourages Annabel to look at life differently and think that maybe, just maybe, she should speak up.
But lets get back to why Annabels life went downhill in the first place. Sophies boyfriend, Will Cash, had tried to rape Annabel at a party at the end of last year. Sophie had (luckily, in a way) walked in and interrupted things, but had assumed that Annabel was trying to seduce Will (Will, of course, backed this up). Completely ostracized after Sophies publicly calling her out, Annabel hasnt told anyone the truth of what really happened.
Then Will attacks Emily, who just barely manages to escape. Sophie again blames her but Emily does the unthinkable. She goes to the police. Annabel is floored. I dont think it had ever even occurred to her to do such a thing.
Will Annabel come forward? Will she repair the rift that has come between her and Owen (over her not being able to really tell him what Will has been bothering her)? Will she make amends with past friends? Will her family come together again or break further apart?
As with other Dessen novels, Just Listen is a strong, emotional story. It will make you cry in places (if youre anything like me) and it will stay with you for days afterwards, your mind drifting back to a scene or two. Highly recommended for readers aged 12 and up, especially for girls. And how about girls and their mothers? This would make an excellent joint read. I really enjoyed this one, and I think you will too.
But now that you’re done heckling, we can move on the important part: I read a Sarah Dessen book! Thank you, thank you. I’d like to especially thank the Academy, and my parents, and Viking Juvenile and…
And we’re done. I apologize for excessive silliness. On the the important part—my review.
The thing with Just Listen is that it doesn’t bring anything new to the bookish world (or maybe it did back in 2006 when it was first published). The formerly popular girl who made mistakes and then hooks up with sensitive loner guy? We all know that story. It’s everywhere! So I think that if you want to read this book (which you most definitely do, if you’re one of the uncool persons who hasn’t done so yet, and no need to worry, because I was formerly uncool also), don’t expect fireworks and shock-factor and moments of “OMG!” Because basically, I figured out the entire story within the first chapter.
However, predictability and unremarkable story (in my opinion) did not stop me from grinnng like a fool during a goodly portion of this book. I would say that I very rarely smile whilst reading, but because I’ve been reading a lot of light contemporary of late, that is no longer true. Anyway, yes—Just Listen is really cute. The interaction between the protagonist, Annabel, and her love interest, Owen, was adorable. See, Owen is really big into music, like…obsessed with obscure, weird music like drippy faucets or chanting or whatever. And then Annabel gives him her opinion on the music, and they sort-of-argue and it’s really cute. So cute I had a happy-grin.
As far as plot, I’m not really sure I could give a good run-down. Wendy said that Sarah Dessen books are “about nothing and yet absolutely everything at the same time” and though I only have Just Listen to use as evidence, I definitely agree. This book is just about one girl living her life, in maybe less-than-great circumstances, but it’s not all depressing, and it’s not all awesome. And I would say that this is very realistic, except for the almost (but not quite) cheesy-movie factor Dessen’s storytelling had, especially when, toward the end, Annabel was suddenly enlightened and discovered great insight into everything, all at once. I didn’t really buy it, but I think it worked for this kind of story.
Anyhoo. Overall, my first encounter with the Sarah Dessen (that author of mythical proportions), was a fairly solid success. Just Listen isn’t my favorite book, and I’m hoping that any future Dessens I try out will work better for me. But either way, I liked Just Listen, and I can now gracefully (or not so gracefully) bow off of this awards podium with my shiny trophy for Not Being A Poser YA Contemp Fan.
It’s been an honor.
I borrowed Just Listen from my friend knowing I had one week to finish it. At first I thought I would never finish it, there were just too many excuses to find: I had school work, chores, sleep, dance practice, etc. But, that night I picked it up and that was a mistake.
Sometimes you find those books that are worth missing sleep over. You know, the kind where you read two pages and YOU KNOW you'll be spending the night with your book. I finished that book around two or three am, and then told my friend I wasn't done the next day, and reread it.
Just Listen will always remain one of my favorites. I don't want to give anything away, because that's how I went into it, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. I didn't have a clue what was going to happen, because I didn't even read the back. I just read it.
I highly recommend this to Sarah Dessen fans, or just anybody who wants to read a good book that will have you remembering it years later. Be warned, though, you will cry and laugh at random moments, so maybe don't read it in too public places.
"Don't think, don't judge, just listen" I loved that quote from the book and it's something that I wish more people would do. In 'Just Listen' Annabel was almost raped at a party she went to and her own friend Sophie didn't even try to listen to what had happened. The whole year Annabel just went through the whole year at school with all the rumors and everyone ignoring her or talking about her. She didn't say anything. I can also get that, I get why she didn't say anything not even to her family. Because she was scared, it's not an easy thing to say. And because there was all those things happening with her sisters. And she was sure that no one would actually listen.
Then she met Owen, who always told the truth. He wouldn't say things just to be mean or just to say them but if you asked him, he would tell you the truth. I really liked Owen. The way he just told the truth without hiding anything, just the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if he didn't really want to all the time was refreshing for me.
In the book there was another thing that stuck with me. It was after Owen asked how Annabel's family could tell when something was wrong with her and she had thought 'They can't'. That for me really stuck with me too because that's the same for me sometimes. Sometimes no one can tell if you have a problem, even if they're you're family.
All in all I really loved the this book.
Just Listen, another famous book by the one and only Sarah Dessen. My favorite author, or excuse me, one of my favorite authors. A book about one's teen troubles. How the main character is shoved out of the popular line, and pushed aside to the nobody's. How her family doesn't have it all perfect. She's a model, she hides behind a smile. Who doesn't? She meets Owen, the music obesser. (I always pictured owen to be fat with tattoos, don't judge me.) After reading this book I couldn't help but think about it for weeks, it was just glued to my brain. It's a good eye opener, as I've said in my other reviews. It's fictional, but it's also non-fiction. It's real-life experiences. This stuff happens everyday, just nobody has put it down on paper or made a huge deal out of it. You should really read this book, and others by Sarah Dessen. (:
I really like this one, it was beautiful, great characters, well written, completely awesome. And I have to say that Owen is by much my favorite Sarah Dessen male characters.
This is my second Dessen book, and I will definitely be reading more. Annabel is the youngest of three sisters who are all or were teen models. But now Annabel is dealing with one of her sister's eating disorders, and the other sister being away in New York pursuing a film making career. But what is really eating Annabel up inside is something that happened at an end-of-the-year party that led to her best friend Sophie hating her. The beginning of the book shows how her and Sophie's friendship evolved, and frankly I was glad that Annabel was rid of her. Sophie is shown as one of those girls who takes on friends that are convenient to her and pretty much thinks only of herself. Along the way of their friendship, Annabel loses a couple more friends because of how Sophie treated them. Once Annabel returns to school she pretty much has no one, until she meets Owen who is the loner that wears his earphones all the time. But behind his quiet exterior, Annabel finds the truth and she finds music. All this leads to her dealing with everything from her own personal trauma, to her sister's anorexia, to her desire to leave modeling behind. The title definitely resonates with the themes in the novel, the language is very authentic, and the problems are unfortunately issues that many teens and families have to deal with. Great read.