Monday, October 12, 2009

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Pages: 400
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: February 28, 2008

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.

Nobody knows. Anabelle Greene never told what happened that night. She never talks about it...ever. She doesn't talk about wanting to quit modeling either, or her sister's eating disorder. Everyone thinks she's perfect. And everyone thinks she hooked up with Will, Sophie's boyfriend. After a summer of loneliness and depression, she faces hell; otherwise known high school. Rumors flare and whispers float around. She has this to deal with along with her already-crumbling family. Everything changes when she meets Owen, an honest to goodness bad boy obsessed with 'music enlightenment'. As they become friends, Anabelle starts telling the truth, and standing up for herself. Will she ever have the courage to once again tell the truth? And will she be brave enough to finally open her heart?

Just Listen is a waterfall of cascading emotions; never receding. Dessen brings out a lot of poignant feelings throughout the book. Anabelle is a mature protagonist that has to deal with a lot of things she sometimes isn't ready for yet. The reality that Dessen creates, is real and definitely not sugar-coated. You're able to see what really happens and how a teenager like Anabelle reacts and deals with everything. Owen is one of those brooding guys in a novel. He's a distinct and realistic character that doesn't care what others think. Little by little you get to know him and put everything together to create a strong and individual characterization of Owen. He is definitely one of my favorite so-called bad boys!

The glass house is an aspect of the book that is particularly significant. It's mentioned a few times and really seeps into the reader's head. One of my favorite quotes from the book is "Pretending everything was just fine, and from the outside, I was sure it at least looked that way...what we appeared to be-the five of us, a happy family, sharing a meal in our glass house--to anyone in a car passing on the road outside, looking in." The glass house is a sort of façade or pretense here. The book itself is also multi-layered, with lots of subtle, underlying messages. A+ =)

The Bottom Line: Just Listen is mostly family-related with a little sprinkle of sweet, meaningful romance. It's a book that a lot of people will be able to relate to, and learn from. It's an emotional, touching, and beautiful read that you will want to read (or hear) over and over again...just like your favorite song. So just read. Just Listen.

---Report Card---
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 99/100 (A+)

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April (BooksandWine) October 12, 2009 at 9:46 PM  

OMG I love Just Listen, it's probs my favorite Sarah Dessen book. Excellent review, I really agree with you about the importance of the glass house factor to the book. Your review is lovely though, I love the line "is a waterfall of cascading emotions." Well done.

Anonymous,  October 12, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

This is a really fantastic book. Great review, I agree with it 100% :)

Thao October 12, 2009 at 10:54 PM  

I just got this book for review. Can't wait to read it!!!!

Briana October 13, 2009 at 12:49 AM  

Love this book!! Its my favorite Sarah Dessen novel! Its fantastic and I love the music aspect of it! And Owen is just *sigh*.. lol. So gorgeous! I can just picture him! ha. Anyway, Great review! It makes me want to reread this book!! :)


Nina October 13, 2009 at 12:53 AM  

Great review! I never read any books of Sarah before, but this one does sound very good. I think i'm going to put this on my tbr list. :)

Justine October 13, 2009 at 2:12 AM  

Oooh, this is one of my faves by Sarah Dessen! I just really love it. And I love how music was included ;) Thanks for your review!

Anonymous,  October 13, 2009 at 3:36 AM  

most of the sarah dessan books have high ratings. they must be really good. i gotta start reading them

Miss Haley October 13, 2009 at 3:55 AM  

awesome review. Just Listen is one of my fav. Sarah Dessen books ever :)

Ladytink_534 October 13, 2009 at 5:06 AM  

The premise somewhat reminds me of another story I heard about not too long ago but this sounds unique and interesting too.

Leslie October 13, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

omg i love that quote! gahhh one of my favorites! great review =)

Stephanie October 14, 2009 at 5:32 AM  

Your review is beautifully written. I will definitely keep an eye out for this one.

chocowafer October 14, 2009 at 10:25 AM  

I really like the book description. :) Wow, 99/100! Oh, that one point! Haha. :)

deltay October 16, 2009 at 5:21 AM  

I really enjoyed this book as well - awesome review!

So Many Books, So Little Time October 19, 2009 at 12:56 AM  

Great review! This was my first Sarah Dessen and I've loved her books ever since!

iffath December 27, 2009 at 11:14 PM  

My favourite Sarah Dessen novel! ;D Your review was fabulously written (!) Haha- 99/100! Have you seen the UK cover?! It's stunning, look -
That's why I love my copy if it! Hah!

Lale April 28, 2010 at 1:06 AM  

I really liked this... apart from the obvious similarities to 'Speak' (which is one of my favourite books and has been since I was a lot younger) I like that Sarah Dessen books are such easy but gripping reads- great for exam time. ;)

Unknown July 7, 2010 at 4:29 AM  

I love this book! It's my favourite S. Dessen novel too ^^

Unknown July 7, 2010 at 4:31 AM  

I love this book! It's my favourite S. Dessen novel too:)

Unknown July 7, 2010 at 4:31 AM  

I love this book! It's my favourite S. Dessen novel too:)

Unknown July 7, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

I love this book! It's my favourite S.Dessen novel too^^

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