Google+ Reading Teen: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen: Reviewed by Abigaile

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen: Reviewed by Abigaile

From School Library Journal
Just ListenGrade 9 Up. Annabel Greene seemingly had everything: cool friends, close family, good grades, and a part-time modeling career in town. But it all came crashing down, and Annabel has spent the summer in shaky, self-imposed exile. She finds herself dreading the new school term and facing, well, everyone again. The last thing she wants to do is revisit old friendships while the losses are painful, the secrets behind the rifts are almost unbearable. Her solid family seems fragile, too. What happened to cause the stiff silences and palpable resentments between her two older sisters? Why is no one in her loving but determinedly cheerful family talking about her middle sister's eating disorder? Annabel's devastating secret is revealed in bits and snatches, as readers see her go to amazing lengths to avoid confrontation. Caught between wanting to protect her family and her own struggles to face a devastating experience, Annabel finds comfort in an unlikely friendship with the school's most notorious loner. Owen has his own issues with anger, but has learned to control it and helps her realize the dangers of holding in her emotions. Dessen explores the interior and exterior lives of her characters and shows their flaws, humanity, struggles, and incremental successes. This is young adult fiction at its best, delving into the minds of complex, believable teens, bringing them to life, and making readers want to know more about them with each turn of the page. Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

I was very excited to read all of the Sarah Dessen books. She has written many YA books and I've heard great things about all of them. But the two books I read, Just Listen and Along For The Ride (my review),  didn't leave very big impressions. Sarah Dessen is an extremely talented author, she knows how teens think and she makes her books very believable and real. But she uses the same pattern in both books I've read. 

I just wish Sarah Dessen, with all the potential that she has, could write about something less depressing (and maybe stop using basically the same guy in her books.) 
Yeah, Just Listen was a good book, but it kinda took me forever to finish it, because I was tired of the storyline that kept going up and down of good and bad.

Just Listen had a lot of big issues such as anorexia and rape. I definitely know now that going to high school parties can lead up to no good. Not just something like underage drinking, but something more serious like rape. 

The rape scene in this book was very... real. I found myself crying because I could not imagine anything like that happening to me. I'm so lucky. Reading this book made me realize how easy a jerk-face guy like Will Cash can do something like that and scar me, an innocent girl, forever. I really liked that Annabel sued Will, even though she hid what happened to her for a long time, Owen gave her the strength to tell her family what happened and they - her family - helped her overcome that horrible memory.

Now, someone I LOVED from this book was Owen! Hands down my favorite character. I mean I wish he would come to life so I could be his girlfriend (sorry Annabel Greene). So many things he would say and talk about I could relate to. And his music obsession, oh my goodness! I found myself going on to ITunes to see if they where real or not. Only to be disappointed because Sarah Dessen had made them up...

Over all, you could say that I liked this book. It's just that I don't enjoy being depressed the whole entire book.


Parents need to know:  There's quite a bit of cussing in this book, as well as a pretty vivid rape scene.  For more details about content, go to Just Listen on Parental Book Reviews.


  1. For the most part, I agree with this review. I’m an avid Sarah Dessen reader. I’ve read her books, over and over again. I love them. They explore a darker place. That’s the thing with Sarah, she isn’t a funny, light writer, and I admire that. When it comes to writing, it’s easier for me to write from a darker place as well. On the other hand, her hero’s are usually the same. Except in This Lullaby. I would say, Along For the Ride was a disappointment. I hoped for more than a story about a colicky baby, and a destroyed family. The truth of it is, all of her books are about broken homes, and deeper lining issues – divorce, abuse, eating disorders, death, etc. If you want to read something amazing by her, try The Truth About Forever, or Dreamland. Both are amazing.

  2. Very good review. I liked this one better than Along For The Ride and agree with Angela, The Truth About Forever is very good.

  3. Aww I loved this book. Sarah Dessen s one of my favorites. Awesome review. Oh and I'm visiting from the blog hop, I'm so happy to have found this blog!


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