Synopsis: 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.
Annabel is known as the perfect girl, the girl who has everything until one incident in the summer leaves her broken and isolated. The whole novel reminded me of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson just because of the theme of: being assualted, not being to tell anyone.
Sarah Dessen always packs her novels with deep meanings and several controversial issues. I sometimes consider her the Jodi Picoult of teen literature. Although Dessen is one of my all time favorite authors, this book kind of fell flat for me throughout the majority. I felt that Dessen tried to put in too many dilemmas in one book. She mentions eating disorders, mean girls, nasty rumors, sexual assault, self discovery, and on top of that, romance. I felt like there was too much going on to be completely committed to this book.
The main character, Annabel, I thought, was a bit dull. She was interesting enough, but she was never outgoing or assertive. She just was too passive for me. Annabel's sisters, on the other hand, were great. Whitney was one of my favorite characters. Although in the beginning, she just seems like a dark soul, her journey throughout the book was enlightening to read about. Kirsten was hilarious. She was so outspoken and fun. Owen was amazing. If Dessen has nothing else, she definitely has the ability to write fabulous male leads. Owen's personality was so intriguing. As usual, Dessen's secondary characters just stole the show.
The plot was pretty slow but I liked it that way. It fit the atmosphere. I found the plot in this book kind of predictable, but maybe it's because I'm very familiar with Dessen's writing style--which is great, by the way.
Just Listen is a powerful and intense novel that will capture readers' attention with its beautifully written prose and shining characters. I'm sure all Sarah Dessen fans will enjoy this book, without a doubt.