Thursday, January 28, 2021

Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen


Goodreads Overview:

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.

Jacque's Review:

If you enjoy YA contemporary, you really can't go wrong with Sarah Dessen's books. I have read a four of them so far and they are always very unique and thought provoking. I enjoy the fact that they are stand alone novels that I can pick up and read without a lengthy commitment, which is hard to find these days.

In Just Listen we are introduced to Annabel, who is high school student and a local model. Her sisters were models and it was just assumed she would follow in their footsteps. When her older sisters leave home to pursue their education and careers, Annabel becomes her mother's primary focus. Her mother doesn't work outside of the home and has always managed her daughter's modeling schedules for joy and fulfillment. When Annabel's grandmother passes away, her mother takes it very hard and experiences severe depression. The one thing that seems to pull her out of the darkness is Annabel's modeling. Annabel really wants to tell her mother that she wants to quit modeling, but she just can't bring herself to do it.

Owen is a transfer student with a reputation for being a bad boy. There are all sorts of rumors circulating the school about him, but nobody really knows the truth. When Annabel and her best friend Sophie have a falling out, Annabel finds herself on the outside looking in. She was once one of the popular girls who seemed to have everything, but now she doesn't feel like she has a single friend in the school. She begins talking to Owen, who can usually be found ignoring everyone listening to his iPod, and discovers there is a lot more to him than she ever imagined. 

Owen has learned that honesty is the best policy and he can't understand why anyone wouldn't just tell exactly what is on their mind. Annabel can see the benefits that could be achieved by getting things off of her chest, but she is such a nice person and doesn't want to say things that could potentially upset or offend others. She also has some secrets she isn't quite sure she wants to tell. Throughout the book we see Annabel's struggles as she weighs her options. She eventually needs to decide if her secrets are worth losing one of the best friends she has ever had. 

I really enjoyed this book and will continue working my way through Sarah Dessen's other books on my TBR list. 

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