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Just Listen by Sarah Dessen This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“Just Listen” is yet another teen drama/romance novel by Sarah Dessen. All of her books mainly revolve around multiple happenings within the lives of teens. Whether that be relationship problems, family troubles, or just plain being a teenager, Dessen hits the topic on the head, creating a sense of relation through her characters. Some young adults can almost even find a sense of comfort in her books. Her writing style, and the story itself, is unique, interesting, and most of all- fun.

Annabel Green is your typical 17 year old girl, or, maybe not. Every teen inevitably has problems, but hers go above and beyond. She and her two gorgeous sisters have been modeling since they could barely sit up, and her mother has always taken pride in that. Modeling is mainly her mother’s dream, not theirs. She almost likes to vicariously live through them in a way, as many mothers do. Reluctant to tell her mother about wanting to quit modeling, Annabel deals with multiple problems aside from the fact. After losing her best friends, she is pronounced a loner and faces a living hell at school. Her sister’s eating disorder, which is very serious and problematic, puts her entire family’s lives on hold, and not to mention, miserable. On top of all that, she has a very bothersome secret weighing heavy on her heart. Suddenly, though, the school’s strangest boy becomes not so strange after a chance encounter leaves the two with a new and blossoming friendship. Now, she has someone to pal around with at school, but that still doesn’t cure her aching heart. No matter how kindred and soft her family may be towards her, that may not be all she really needs to make it through her tough time. Her future with the “strange” boy seems promising and is very comforting, but could it all come crashing down?

Although it seems like there could be multiple themes in this book due to the various obstacles, I think there is only one true underlying theme. That being- be true to yourself. Staying true to yourself can resolve and even prevent problems. If the protagonist, and even a few other background characters had remained true to themselves, then a lot of drama and conflict in the book wouldn’t even have begun in the first place.

Just Listen symbolizes that Annabel should’ve just took a moment and listened to herself before the worries of her troubles swarmed in and took her over. Letting people mess with your head and change who you are can affect you a lot more than you would think. In this book, Annabel feels the need to be someone she’s not, just to please other people. Therefore, creating a muster of problems for herself.

Just Listen is a roller coaster of a book, taking you up and down through the highs and lows of the character’s problems. I could hardly put it down, it took me just two days to read it. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a while. The multiple, wide variety of problems keep you entertained, as do the intelligent and different topics. Overall, it was definitely a unique story that I recommend to teen girls. If I had the chance, I would re-read it. It was definitely what I least expected. Don’t let the juvenile teen appearance misconduct you.



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KristinC This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm
I loved this book! This is a very well-written and thoughtful review.
 
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