Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Don’t think, don’t judge, just Listen.
Confession: ‘Just Listen’ by Sarah Dessen is one of my favourite Sarah Dessen novels (actually it is probably one of my favourite YA novels of all time). It is also one of my favourite ‘go-to’ novels when I’m not sure what else I want to read. Before I read Just Listen, although I had other books by Sarah Dessen on my shelf I don’t think I read them, Just Listen introduced me to the world of Dessen and the world of sweet, contemporary YA. Seriously, if you haven’t read Just Listen yet read it now!
The plot is about Annabel Greene a.k.a. ‘The girl who has it all’. However early on in the novel we discover that something (sorry for the placeholder!) happened over the summer and now she has fallen out with her best friend: Sophie. When she returns to school, she meets her Owen who is always honest and she learns to become more honest and to ‘just listen’ to the music.
I really liked Annabel as a character, and I found myself identifying with her; like her I’m prone to telling lies to spare people’s feelings and I try to avoid confrontation when possible. I might not have particularly liked Annabel pre ‘Just Listen’ when she was friends with Sophie, but I really enjoyed reading her story (especially her friendship with Owen)!
Like every other Dessen novel; I loved the supporting characters such as Rolly, Mallory, Kirsten, Whitney and Clarke, (also keep an eye out for characters from other Dessen novels!) and I would love to see them appear in future Dessen novels. I also liked the fact that we got to see not only Annabel developing as a character, but we got to see Whitney and Kirsten’s character development in the novel as well.
I also really liked how family played a big part in this novel, in many YA contemporaries, the parents often make a brief appearance and are ‘missing’ for the majority of the book. However in this book we learn about Annabelle’s family and the problems that they have/ are facing.
If you are worried that this will be another YA contemporary, don’t worry because although it does have the aspects of your stereotypical contemporary, there is so much more to the story. Annabel deals with a number of issues such as family and friendship problems which plays a big part in the novel.
Overall I’d give this book 5/5 stars, and it is one of my favourite YA contemporaries and it tells you the importance of being honest and standing up for yourself (even if it means confrontations!)