Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Published: April 6th, 2006 (Speak)
Buy the book: Bookdepository
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.
I’m running out of Sarah Dessen books to read! After reading five of her other novels, I thought it might get predictable, or boring.. but Just Listen was neither of those things. It was, once again, everything I could have wanted from a contemporary. Believable characters with personality, witty dialogue and heartfelt moments made for a great read.
Annabel has issues. Her sister has an eating disorder which causes havoc in her family and her best friend dumped her. From a once popular model, she tumbles down the social ladder and becomes somewhat of an outcast. Until she starts talking to Owen. He has a reputation that precedes him, and his burly physique doesn’t help him. However, when Annabel gets to know him, she learns that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Not everything is as it seems, which is something Annabel found out the hard way.
While reading, Annabel has flashbacks and we unravel the night her best friend Sophie dumped her, bit by bit. Getting a new piece of the puzzle every time, you get to figure out what happened along the way. Even though the reason for their separation was a little predictable, I really liked how Dessen has intertwined the different storylines and Annabel’s past into this story. There were several moments that were so heartfelt, so intense, that I found my cheeks to be wet from tears. In between some heavy subjects, Dessen has put lighthearted and quirky dialogue and yes, some romance (would it be a Sarah Dessen book otherwise?). I loved how she incorporated music in this one. I prefer This Lullaby over Just Listen, but both have their charm and I loved reading both of them.