Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen

Title: Just Listen

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publication Date: April 6th, 2006

Format: Paperback (Bought)

Genres & Themes: Young-adult, Contemporary, Romance.


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.


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Don’t think or judge, just listen.

I hate to admit I was a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong. This book isn’t bad. In fact, it’s a wonderful book. But I had the highest expectations because I heard so much about Sarah Dessen and especially about this book. And I might have expected a magical portal to open and suck me inside the book and that obviously didn’t happen (not literally). However, this book is so much better than many of the contemporaries I have read (and I have read a LOT!) but there was something missing.

So while it seemed like you were seeing everything, you really weren’t. Just bits and pieces that looked like a whole.

This book is about Annabel Greene who may look like the perfect girl from the outside but behind the  facade, there was more. At first, I was pissed off by her perfection but then I realized that this is what this book is about; outer appearance can be deceiving. You never know what a person is going through or how broken they are from the inside.

Owen is a music-obsessed and undoubtfully, the most honest guy in the world. He believes in Annabel and is always pushing her to be honest too. What I like the most about him is that he’s not like he’s “the perfect guy” or has a “perfect live” and is in the book only for the sole purpose to save our MC. But, he has his own issues too and he’s also struggling and dealing with them.

Owen and Annabel’s relationship is not insta-love (THANKFULLY!!). Their relationship begins as a simple and sweet friendship which, over the time, turns into something more than that. Not the love-at-first-sight crap like many of some other contemporaries.

This book deals with a lot of matters including family issues, eating disorders, assault and friendship fall-outs. Just Listen is a descriptive and detailed book which is excellent because that’s how I was able to connect with most of the characters.Sarah Dessen has a beautiful writing style though I must say that the book was a little slow.

I wish there was a separate book about Whitney – Annabel’s sister – so I could read more about her struggles with eating disorder. Her character is complex and the development was marvelous though I wish to read more of her story and her inner conflicts.

About the Author: 

Known for their ability to sensitively and accurately depict teenage lives in transition, Sarah Dessen’s young-adult books tug at your heartstrings and tackle challenging topics. A partial list of some of her award-winning and bestselling books includes Along for the Ride , This Lullaby, Just Listen, and Someone Like You .

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9 thoughts on “Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

  1. I enjoyed your review. I fell in love with Sarah Dessen and her books in high school, and back then, I couldn’t get enough of them. But, I re-read a few of them, including this one, when I was in college, and I found that my perspective was changing and swaying to a few of your points. I appreciate your thoughts!

    Do you plan to read any more of her books?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Maybe if I read her book before I knew all about the hype, I would’ve liked it more. Thanks for appreciating and agreeing with me. 🙂
      Yes, I do! But, I don’t know a lot about her books. Can you recommend me any of your favourite books by her?


  2. Love this review! I remember when I heard about the hype of Sarah Dessen and ran out and bought myself four books by her! Unfortunately I was disappointed, not because I didn’t enjoy it but because the hype left me unsatisfied. I haven’t read this one before but I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Hopefully your next SD read will turn out better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww it’s such a shame! AHAHA I’m so happy I have you to share all the understandable feels with! I think my favourite so far is probably Lock and Key? It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a Sarah Dessen book but that’s probably the one! I didn’t LOVE it but I did enjoy it (I think)! 🙂 hope you enjoy too!

        Liked by 1 person

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