… the rise and fall of popular high school student Annabel Greene? Sarah Dessen’s extremely popular novel, Just Listen, follows Annabel, who 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. When she meets Owen, a fellow outcast with a love of experimental music and a surprisingly honest personality, she is forced to confront the situations that she’s been avoiding for the last several months – her apathy towards modeling, her sister’s eating disorder, and the truth about what actually happened last summer.
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 can be hit-or-miss for me, but 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.
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. In fact, this book has the makings of a classic, one that teen readers will continue to check out years in the future. If you liked Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, I definitely suggest giving this refreshingly honest book a try.
Reviewed by Katie (staff)