Just Listen (Sarah Dessen)

Rating: [rate 4.5]

Just Listen (Sarah Dessen) 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 picked this book on a random book splurge. I think I wasn’t in a good mood then, so I browsed around National Bookstore and waited a bit before deciding to buy it. It seemed very interesting among all the YA books I saw in the bookstore, plus I remember seeing some of my friends recommending her books…and so I bought it. The last time I bought a YA book (I think it was Private by Kate Brian), I was really disappointed, so I hoped this one won’t disappoint.

And it didn’t.

Just Listen is about Annabel, a seemingly perfect girl on the outside who needs no treatments for acne, but a lot devastated on the inside. The novel talks about her family, her friendships and her growing relationship with Owen, the music lover who always says what’s on his mind. Annabel, on the other hand, prefers to keep things inside her, especially if she thinks it would disrupt the “peace” that other people have. It’s not about keeping a reputation, but just looking out for them in a way that she could and at a cost.

The novel is very realistic, and it deals a lot about eating disorders, complicated friends and being true to yourself. I loved how I can still relate to it even if I’m way above the YA age (or not :P), how I managed to see myself in Annabel as I read the novel. While reading Just Listen, you’ll find yourself rooting for Annabel (and Owen) and hoping that things become okay with her. The flashbacks were seamless, almost like you were really looking into Annabel’s mind as she recalls them all.

This is the kind of fiction I love. It kind of reminds me of those YA/Chicklit books written by Christian authors that I buy, but this one is more mainstream and doesn’t talk of God. However, the lessons that the story has is very valuable, and this is something teens should really read.

Two things I wish that would happen (spoiler alert): I wish to know how Clarke lost her allergies and I kind of wish there’s some kind of resolution for Annabel and Sophie, other than them not talking anymore. Or at least, some kind of encounter. But then I guess that part is left open to interpretation and possible spin offs. :)

If only there were more Dessen books available in Manila! I found one in BookSale, which I will hunt down soon, and then I’ll look for some during the Book Fair. :D If all else fails, I’ll ask my dad to get me her books. I’m definitely a fan. :D

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