Just Listen by Sarah Dessen


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.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I don’t know what has triggered the backlash against author Sarah Dessen in some Young Adult Fiction circles, because I thought this was a wonderful and realistic book I couldn’t put down. Perhaps I made an excellent choice for my first Dessen book, but I found Just Listen to feature characters I could relate to and sympathise with, and it was certainly not your standard YA Twilight-inspired fare.


Dealing with serious issues including bullying, sexual assault and anorexia, Just Listen is the story of Annabel, the youngest of three sisters – all models – whose reality does not match her beautiful exterior. Enter Owen, who forms an acquaintance with her when she is ostracised by her ‘popular crowd’ friends after a terrible incident at the beginning of the summer.


There is a romance here, but there is a whole lot more going on in the story than the relationship between Annabel and Owen. I thought the issues were handled realistically, and I could definitely identify with the way the characters dealt with the problems life threw their way. I liked the way people weren’t who they initially seemed to be. I loved Owen, and the fact he was perfectly comfortable with who he was, even if other people thought he was strange.


Just Listen was a great introduction for me to an astoundingly successful author.


Posted on 19/02/2013, in Books, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Romance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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