Just Listen Review

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Don’t think. Don’t judge. Just listen to me when I say that you need to read this book!

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen follows Annabel Greene, a girl returning to high school after a summer of self-imposed isolation following a fall-out with her best friend and a secret she never wants to tell. Then, Annabel meets Owen Armstrong known for his music, anger issues, and always telling the truth. FINISH DESCRIPTION HERE.

There are two authors who defined my high school reading: Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen. I remembered my sister recommended The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen to me, but I went to the library, I picked up Just Listen instead. To this day, Just Listen remains my favorite Sarah Dessen book and one of my favorite books of all time. Every time I reread Just Listen, which I’ve probably done over ten times, I find something else to love about it and something else to connect with in the story line. Since I reread this book recently, I thought I would share all of the reasons that I adore this book.

I think Just Listen is one of Sarah Dessen’s best works because of the layers present throughout the book. Each character deals with a different issue that contributes to a larger theme throughout the book. Sarah Dessen provides so many different perspectives on one theme that it really gives the book a well-rounded feel. I think Sarah Dessen especially handled Annabel’s secret with poise and placed flashbacks to the even well throughout the novel. This book will definitely hit your emotions hard.

Annabel is a complex and deep character that experiences a lot of growth throughout the novel. As a main character, Annabel serves as a positive role model to the target audience of this book by learning how to face issues head-on and to speak up for herself. A lot of the issues Annabel deals with in her own life and her family are extremely relatable to for readers in this book’s target audience and I think this book will give hope to readers in similar situations to Annabel.

I think another standout aspect of this book is the romance. It says a lot about an other when they can take a person with personality traits that you find extremely annoying in real life and spin them into a flawed person that you absolutely love. On the surface, Owen Armstrong is someone that I would not like in real life. He is a music snob and sometimes too brutally honest. However, I love his character in this book and his relationship with Annabel. I like how Owen brings Annabel out of her shell and gives her strategies to cope with her problems in her life, but doesn’t serve as the solution to her problems like many male love interests in young adult literature. Annabel and and Owen definitely earn one of the top spots among my YA OTPs.

It’s hard to find words to express all of the reasons that I love this book and why it has remained one of my favorite books for almost ten years now. I recommend this book to anyone, even if you are not typically a fan of contemporary, because it is well-written, relevant, and impacts you long after you finish the final page. I give Just Listen five out of five stars.


4 thoughts on “Just Listen Review

  1. […] I read Just Listen years ago, but it remains one of my favorite young adult books. I think it has a powerful story that is incredibly well-written. The characters and plot are so familiar to me and I know that I will love this book whenever I finish it. I always reach for this book when I find myself in a reading slump! See my review of Just Listen here. […]


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