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Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen (2006)

by Sarah Dessen

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Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
I'm totally overwhelmed after reading this book. I cried because I am like Annabel who likes to hide what's inside her. But, as the book says, silence is so freaking loud.

"There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying." Well, this quote, I like it. ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
I'm totally overwhelmed after reading this book. I cried because I am like Annabel who likes to hide what's inside her. But, as the book says, silence is so freaking loud.

"There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying." Well, this quote, I like it. ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
Favorite book of all time. So real, deep, carries so much meaning in such simple words. Funny, quirky, tear jerker, and satisfying. This is a gem, makes you think! ( )
  delilahparrie | Jun 30, 2014 |
In my quest to become more familiar with YA fiction, I turned to my coworkers who suggested that I read Sarah Dessen, specifically this novel. Contemporary YA is usually hit-or-miss for me, especially since I don't care for romance which seems to be a requirement for YA nowadays.

This book surprised me. I really, really enjoyed it. In fact, I read it over the course of two days and at times had to physically pull myself away from the book because, oh, you know...I had to eat. Or sleep. Or whatever.

Annabel Greene is a high school student, a local model, and a pariah at school because of an incident that happened at a party earlier that summer. (We don't find out until later what it is, but if you've read the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, that'll give you a good idea as to what's going on.) She finds solace in her new friend, Owen, who teaches her valuable lessons about music and honesty, and helps her confront the truth of what happened that summer.

YA doesn't always work for me because I'm not always able to approach the story from a teenager's perspective, but this wasn't an issue for Just Listen. Maybe it was because I could relate to Annabel's character, maybe it was the writing style, and maybe it was a little bit of both. But I found myself transported back to my own high school days (for better or for worse), and I was able to leave my adult perspectives behind. There's a romantic subplot, but it doesn't take over the entire story.

There are a ton of appeal factors that make Just Listen a great suggestion for a wide range of readers: writing that does not feel dated, a significant subplot revolving around eating disorders, an honest portrayal of friendship during the high school years, romance, a positive ending, and a universal message about conflict and honesty.

I debated on the rating for this book - although it's not what I would consider a stunning novel, it captured my attention so thoroughly that giving it anything less than five stars felt unfair. I knew Sarah Dessen was a popular author with our teen patrons, but now I have a concrete understanding of why her novels are so popular, and I'll likely read another one in the future.


Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson. The writing is more experimental and poetic than in Just Listen, which employs a more traditional style. But the plots are very similar and teens who connected strongly with Just Listen will likely feel the same way about Speak.

OCD, The Dude, and Me - Lauren Roedy Vaughn. Both protagonists find themselves ostracized from their classmates at the beginning of the school year, but are able to rise above their situations with the help of an unusual friendship. Both novels ultimately end on a positive note, and both realistically portray high school life.

Novelist also offers these authors as readalike suggestions for Sarah Dessen fans: Jenny Han, Sara Zarr, and Robyn Schneider. All of these authors write female-centered YA fiction that focus on complex characters, romance, and adolescent issues. ( )
  coloradogirl14 | May 28, 2014 |
Wasn't my favourite Dessen, as I had just read The Truth About Forever, a far superior novel, but still, its a great book. ( )
  katie1802 | May 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
"Dessen weaves a sometimes funny, mostly emotional, and very satisfying story."
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The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost
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I taped the commercial back in April, before anything had happened, and promptly forgot about it.
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Book description
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.
In this multi-layered, impossible-to-put-down book, Sarah Dessen tells the story of a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfect facade.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142410977, Paperback)

When Annabel, the youngest of three beautiful sisters, has a bitter falling out with her best friend—the popular and exciting Sophie—she suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. but then she meets Owen—a loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. with owen’s help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:53 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Isolated from friends who believe the worst because she has not been truthful with them, sixteen-year-old Annabel finds an ally in classmate Owen, whose honesty and passion for music help her to face and share what really happened at the end-of-the-year party that changed her life.… (more)

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