Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

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Info: 371 pages, paperback, Contemporary YA, published April 6th, 2006

Synopsis: 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?

Why I Chose This Book: I was selling books and CDs at Half Price, and had some time to kill. Obviously, that wasn’t difficult! I love the clearance section at this particular store, but this was the only book that looked interesting. It was only a dollar, so it was an easy choice.

First Impressions: This could be the cover for any book published in the early 2000’s. Very generic, very YA romance. With the artistry of the content, I would have loved to see a better cover. This is the kind of book I feel so stereotypical for reading, so I don’t want to be seen reading it. If that makes any sense?

What I Liked: I know I say this a lot, but everything. I’ve only read one Dessen book before, and I let hype get to me so of course it was a let down. I should probably reread that book now that I’ve given her a second chance to blow my freakin mind. I loved this book. I laughed, I cried, I skyped my boyfriend because it made me miss him so much. I don’t know if anyone writes falling in love like Dessen does. She knows exactly how it feels, how it makes your heart soar and fall at the smallest word. While I was reading and making notes, I couldn’t stop raving. I have notes that say “pg 331-333: *******’s reading. Tears. Crying. Sobbing. Why.” and “Okay. Phew. Teary for last 150 pages, but when not full out avoiding a breakdown, SO GOOD.” I seriously have at least five characters names with hearts everywhere. This book just…I cannot describe the experience of reading it.

What I Didn’t Like: That it ended? I don’t even need this section for this book.

Ratings and Recommendations: If you like YA romance at all, please read this book. If you like reading books that strike a cord and make you feel more than you want to, read this. Just read it.

2. Loved It

Final Thoughts: Obviously, music is a big part of this book. There were a couple places where the music I was listening to just synced so well with the book.

Chapter 12: the runway show. Listen to Arrival of the Birds by Cinematic Orchestra from the Crimson Wing
Page 327: ‘tentative, careful peace’. Listen to The Theory of Everything by Johann Johannsson

Sound off in the comments: Have you read this book? What did you think? What’s your favorite novel by Sarah Dessen?

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