Published April 6th, 2006.
Viking Books for Young Readers.
Young Adult Contemporary Romance
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.
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This was a great summer read. I really enjoyed it. Just Listen is definitely a page-turner, it’s kind of a long book but I was able to read it in one sitting. Even if this isn’t one of my favorites by this author, it has all those elements that make a Sarah Dessen book what it is: teen romance, the family drama and that message hidden between the pages that makes you all fluffy inside.
The book is told from Annabelle point of view. The thing is, I still don’t know if I really like this main character. Most of the time I didn’t but towards the end I begin to understand her better even if I didn’t really relate to her. She hates confrontation and avoids it at all cost, even if it means losing her friends or living a complete lie, which doesn’t sit well with me. But this whole book follows Annabelle’s struggle with that topic and throughout the pages, especially towards the end, we see her grow and start taking charge of her life, revisiting mistakes from her past and trying to make it right even if that’s scary as hell.
What really kept me awake at night reading were the love interest and the set of secondary characters. Owen, this tough guy who everyone seems to be a little afraid of, is a great character; I love how he deals with his anger issues, his always-honest ways and the fact that he’s totally crazy about music. I really think that if it wasn’t for this character, Annabelle wouldn’t have even noticed that she was doing something wrong, because at the beginning she’s that kind of passive character, she doesn’t really see things pretty much until they’re pointed out to her.
The other characters I loved were Whitney, Annabelle recovering anorexic sister who also grows a lot throughout the book. Mallory, Owen’s annoying little sister who worships Annabelle for all the wrong reasons but it’s a great comic relief for all the drama going on. And finally, Rolly, Owen’s friend, who also made me crack up several times with his great personality and funny lines.
Overall, I think this was a great read, even though I would’ve liked a stronger main character, I still enjoyed it.
About the author
Sarah Dessen grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating with highest honors in Creative Writing. She is the author of several novels, including Someone Like You, Just Listen and Along for the Ride. A motion picture based on her first two books, entitled How to Deal, was released in 2003. Her eleventh novel,The Moon and More, will be published in June 2013. She lives in North Carolina.