Just Listen

Just Listen
by Sarah Dessen
performed by Jennifer Ikeda
Published 2006 by Recorded Books
11 hours, 52 minutes. Unabridged.
Rating: 4/5

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

So cute! It’s so nice to be listening to another of Sarah Dessen’s books. I’ve loved all the ones I’ve read so far. I thought I would really enjoy this one because of the music theme. There were definitely some things about the music that I liked. Still, it didn’t quite live up to my favorites (This Lullaby & Along for the Ride). It really comes down to comparison of characters. Though I liked Annabel in the beginning more than I liked Remy or Auden, I liked Dexter and Eli more than Owen. Don’t get me wrong though. Owen has his charm. It’s well worth the read. I just think it would have been better to read earlier.

Annabel is one of Dessen’s good girls. Sure her protagonists always end up being good girls by the end of the book, they usually don’t start that way. It’s not their fault. They all have serious issues to deal with. Annabel just seemed to have the good girl thing down at the beginning. Sure, she wasn’t always honest, but it was because she wanted to be nice. She doesn’t want to hurt her mom’s feelings. Owen slowly helps her realize that honesty really is the best policy. I like him for that. Owen didn’t grab me like the boys in Dessen’s other books. He’s more on a plane with Nate from Lock & Key than Dexter (This Lullaby) and Eli (Along for the Ride). I didn’t just fall head over heels for him. What I did like about Owen was the reformed bad boy thing. He’s tall and muscular which is pretty different from the other guys she writes about. Maybe it’s all the Highlander romance books I’ve been reading, but I could definitely get into the tall and muscular thing.

Enough of that ridiculous girl talk. I think the lessons Annabel learns are worth reading the book. I also loved watching the relationship between her and her sister grow. Jennifer Ikeda did a terrific job reading this one. Though the sound quality on the playaway device I checked out was lacking, it was still obvious to me that she did a good job. Oh! And if you’ve read This Lullaby, Remy and the gang make a tiny appearance in this book. It was pretty cute. Also, Owen sometimes reminded me of my boyfriend, who is into dubstep and electronic music and tries relentlessly to get me to listen to it as well. I feel the way Annabel does about techno. Can’t stand it!

Source: Homewood Public Library. Homewood, AL.
Author’s website: http://www.sarahdessen.com/
Purchase this book: Recorded Books | Book Depository | IndieBound | Audible

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