Rachel's Reviews > Just Listen

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
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's review
Jun 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: english-420

This novel focuses on Annabel Greene, the girl who seems to have everything. She is gorgeous, she is a successful local model, she has a loving family, and she lives in a beautiful house. However, things are not as they seem. In truth Annabel is the girl who has nothing. She is returning to school for her senior year after a summer of isolation. She has lost all of her friends because of something that happened at an end-of-the-year party: her best friend's boyfriend tries to rape her. He lies about it, and Sophie, her best friend, accuses Annabel of trying to steal her boyfriend. And because Sophie is the most popular girl in school, Annabel now has no friends.

At home, Annabel's older sister suffers from anorexia, and no one in the family will talk about the problem. Annabel also cannot talk about her own problems because she is so worried that it might upset her fragile mother, so she suffers in silence--until she meets Owen, the loner at school with a passion for music. Through their friendship, Annabel learns how to be honest and finally finds the strength to face her past and move on with her future.

Despite the issues of rape and anorexia (as well as several instances of teens smoking and drinking), I believe Just Listen is well worth the read. The emotions expressed and the situations presented in the novel are so accessible to teens and to anyone, for that matter. Everyone knows about isolation and being afraid to say what you really think. This novel is genuine and true to life, so it is easy to understand and to relate to. It confronts hard issues, but those issues are real and worth learning about.

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