Publisher: Penguin Aus
Pub. Date: July 5th 2007
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of copy: from publisher
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.
If you ask me for recommendations of Sarah Dessen book, I'll say get the whole package of The Truth About Forever, This Lullaby and Just Listen, for these are the best works of Dessen I've read so far. Say goodbye to the organized girl who's deep in sorrow and the cynical one who doesn't believe in love, let's discover the beauty of the story of the girl who used to have it all.
I've said all the times how I love the calm and collected style of writing of Sarah Dessen in my previous reviews, so I'm going to pass it this time. Just Listen makes me realize one new thing about the author: she can pull out any seemingly small family or personal frustration and bring it to the next level, creating a whole new story that you will either sympathy with the characters or feel related to it one way or another. With Just Listen it's the matter of dealing with the ugly truth you have to hide so it doesn't disappoint anyone you care about.
Romance has very little space in this book. Instead, the majority of 400 pages is for Annabel to look at herself and find a way out of the depression that one night (along with her family problems) has caused her. I love the quote "Don't think or judge. Just listen" really much because it means so many things. Listen to yourself, listen to the world, to all the small but important things you have ignored for such a long time. The passion for music in this book is portrayed in a different and bizarre way, thus it attracts readers.
Annabel is a complex character. She's not as shy as she appears to be, in fact, the thing that happens with Will Cash makes her that way. I like how she slowly opens up and be strong again. Having said that, I don't think Annabel is the most exciting character in this book. Owen is. He's blunt, bold, angry (in a kind of hot way), he knows how to drag you out of your shell, he makes you uncomfortable if you're not real. Owen is the guy that will impress you in any kind of way, so that makes him as great as my all time favorite male character from Sarah Dessen books - Dexter.
So what are you waiting for? Get this book right away. It can be a perfect choice to start a new year - a year full of excellent reads.