Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

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Just Listen: Book Review

Finding yourself, finding yourself in yourself is what Just Listen is all about. Being a girl that’s always been in the center of attention because of her modeling, Annabel Greene has to be the perfect girl. At least she had to come across as the perfect girl. She is a model, and everything she does has to be looked at with envy. That’s not actually who she is, and it took her another person to realize that.

When Annabel was in fifth grade, going on sixth grade, a new girl named Sophie moved in down the street from her. Clarke and Annabel immediately didn’t like Sophie. She was very rude to Annabel because she really wanted to hang out with Kirsten, Annabel’s older sister, who was very popular. Sophie followed Kirsten around, and Kirsten didn’t like it. She snapped a few weeks later, and I recollect that she called Sophie the b-word. Sophie and Annabel became friends after Annabel reached out to Sophie. Clarke was left out. Annabel never looked to rehabilitate their friendship.
Annabel and Sophie ruled middle school, that’s when the author faltered. Every young-adult story has a leading duo, trio, or foursome. I wish someone would write a young-adult story without popularity contests involved. After Sarah Dessen, the author, talks about the glory days of Annabel, we find out what she did to fall down from her throne. A life-changing event happens to her, but no one will let her tell what happens. I’m going to leave it there. It takes awhile to find out what does happen to her. When I read, I want to know the details. I want a big, long explanation if that’s what it takes to get some details out of the author.
Owen Armstrong is the base of Annabel finding herself. With him, Annabel realized that she didn’t always have to be her family’s neutral member of her family. However, at the same time that Annabel was spending all the time with Owen, her middle sister, Whitney, as going through a very troubling time in New York. She began losing a lot of weight, fast. Her parents ignored it, and ignored it some more, but finally realized it when they Annabel found her lying out cold on the bathroom floor. Most of the story is about overcoming obstacles. Whitney overcomes obstacles, Kirsten overcomes talking-too-much obstacles, we hear about their mother overcoming obstacles, and Annabel overcomes obstacles.
So many times when I’m asked about what I liked about the book or even if I liked it, I say, “stuff” or “everything,” usually the latter. I choose not to pick out specific details of a book that I just read. Now, sitting here, I can pick out at least three situations of the book I really enjoyed. I really liked when the author illustrated the way that problems that you keep inside will just pop out of you and you’ll snap. Annabel had help with her problems with Owen because he went through anger management. Another big thing I liked was how supportive the family of The Greenes was. They held the member of the family close that needed the most help at that time. The most meaningful piece of the book was the relationship between Owen and Annabel. Annabel always thought Owen was a huge, mountainous human being until she met him more. She found out he was obsessed with music, all kinds, and pretty helpful. They grow and soon they’re fast friends, and Annabel really likes Owen.
Honesty is key, so now I’ll tell what’s not amazing about Just Listen. I didn’t like how right when Kirsten got into classes at NYU, she changed. The way she carried herself changed, and I didn’t like that. I also didn’t like how the ending perfectly wraps everything up. Sometimes I want a book that’s different. I don’t like how this book is the story of a lot of other young-adult books. She gets everything she wants even though she had some trouble in the start.
In all, Just Listen is an eye-opening experience about speaking out about pressures and things that happen to you. Annabel, not completely relatable, but pretty exciting to read about, embarks on a journey as soon as she first speaks to Owen. Even though I left you hanging, holding on for more in the story, I hope Just Listen makes your list. I saved the best parts of the book for when you read it. A definite must-read that should be on your waiting list at Borders.





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pwells said...
Jan. 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm
Great Job M! Keep up the great writing!
 
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