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 gotta say, I love every book that Sarah Dessen has written, but Just Listen is my favourite. Well, it is tied with Dreamland. And that is because of Annabel. I am Annabel in so many different ways. I always answer the question "How are you?" with "fine" or "okay" even if I am not. And I think it is so important for young girls to read this book and realize that it is more than necessary to answer honestly, even if you think people will be put off with by it.
I read this book for the first time when I was 14. I did a project on it in high school.
There was so much for Annabel to deal with that it was easy to understand how overwhelmed Annabel became and why she refused to be open and honest. She didn't want to be a burden on those that she loved. I'm sure everyone has felt this way before and has told little white lies to appease people instead of "being a burden." But I can promise you right now that if someone asks you how you are, they genuinely care. You are not a burden to the people who love you and they want to make sure that you are okay and happy. You are not a burden to them.
There were so many good lines from this one that it is hard to choose a favourite, but I keep going back to "I'm just doing the best I can under the circumstances" because that is so important to remember. I also started saying "Story of my life" because of this one and it has stuck for the past 8 years.
Owen isn't my *favourite* Dessen boy -- that title belongs to Wes -- but he is a close second. He is so open and honest and genuinely caring about those in his life that it is hard to not like him. Even with his faults, he is still perfectly imperfect. Especially for Annabel. I have always wanted to find someone as genuine as Owen, even as just a friend because it is so important to surround yourself with people that are honest and caring.
Overall: 4/5 for this one. I really loved it and I hope you guys will too.