Friday 13 April 2012

Book Review - Just Listen

Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 5 July 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0141322919

I'm Annabel. I'm the girl who has it all. Model looks, intelligence, a great social life. I'm one of the lucky ones. Aren't I?

My 'best friend' Sophie is spreading rumours about me. My family is slowly falling apart. It's turning into a long, lonely summer, full of secrets and silence.

But I've met this guy who won't let me hide away. He's one of those intense types, obsessed with music and totally unafraid of confrontation. He's determined to make me listen. Will I ever find the courage to tell him what really happened the night Sophie and I stopped being friends?

My Rating
I took this out of the library a while ago after reading 'The Truth About Forever' and loving it. I had other books to read first so I put it in my pile and forgot about it. I finished a book last night and was looking for something quick and quite light so I picked this up. I ended up staying up until 1.30 in the morning reading this and got about 320 pages through it. I had to finish the last little bit this morning when I got up, but it was so good I didn't want to put it down.
This book wasn't quite as 'light' as I thought it would be and I am talking story content here not page numbers. It deals with a lot of issues from anorexia, bullying, rape and anger management. But whereas some books can overdo the issues so it feels like you are getting a lesson and a lecture, this book has the perfect balance and it never felt like too much.
Annabel used to have it all, but now she doesn't recognise herself, everything seems to have fallen apart in the last year, she is trying to ignore everything and carry on in a sort of blur, then she meets Owen and he teaches her that although she may not talk, she needs to listen, listen to her heart and her mind and her feelings and know that other people are there to listen to her too.
I actually liked Annabel as a character, when I found out she was a highschool model I immediately had this image in my head of a girl like the 'Plastics' in 'Mean Girls', but she is not like that at all, she is down to earth and just very unhappy, putting a brave face on for everyone and I could feel myself empathising with her. At points I was almost screaming at her to just come out and say somehting, but I know how hard it is to tell people how you are feeling and I could understand why she didn't. Of course I've never had experiences like she has, thank God, but I could relate to her feeling of lonliness and of being lost.
Owen is probably my favourite character here - known round school for his large build and fiery temper, everyone is intimidated by him, but he's also a bit of a loner - locked in a world of his headphones and music, it just shows you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover as he is actually really sweet, yeah he has some anger issues but it's always for the best intention.
The pair worked really well together in the story and although I had a vague idea where the story was heading I still enjoyed getting there and there were some surprises on the way.
The story moved very fluidly and was a mixture of exciting, funny, heartfelt and emotional. This book focuses a lot on the things we don't see or hear, and made me think that maybe, sometimes we should look closer and take a bit of time to listen to someone else.
Overall I loved this book and I can see why Sarah Dessen is so popular, I have already requested her next book 'Lock & Key', I know all of her novels are stand-alone, but I've decided I want to read them in the order they were written.

My Rating

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