Sarah's Stars

Sarah Dessen. Just Listen
Viking (Penguin)  $23.50  ISBN – 0-670-06105-0  371 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 14

The point is,” he said as I shook my head, “that all the others are set lists, set concepts. An education, if you will. You should listen to them first. And then, when you’ve done that, and you think you’re ready, really ready, put that one on. It’s a bit more…out there.”

“All right,” I said. “I’m officially wary now.”

You might totally hate it,” he admitted. “Or not. It might be the answer to all life’s questions. That’s the beauty of it. You know?”

I looked down at it again, studying the cover. “’Just Listen’,” I said.

Yeah. Don’t think, or judge. Just listen.”

“And then what?”

“And then,” he said, “you can make up your mind. Fair enough, right?”

Annabel Greene was the girl with it all. Best friends, loving family, a career as a model, the good grades, everything. Now, coming back to high school after the incident with Sophie and having completely isolated herself from everyone, she discovers she is now one of the few official ‘loners’ at school. With her former friends, turned enemies, spreading rumors and cursing her, Annabel tries to isolate herself, in an attempt to protect herself. Everything seems okay, but the one thing she didn’t count on was Owen Armstrong. Owen’s friendship, obsession with music and frank, open ways completely change Annabel’s life and everything she thought would always be the same.

Sarah Dessen is a New York Times bestselling author and Just Listen shows why. The story is beautifully written and masterfully constructed, with twists and turns you would never expect to find. Its story is simple and complex at the same time and the lessons Annabel and the reader learn are so very true. It’s a truly wonderful story, one I really enjoyed. I found that after reading it, I couldn’t bear to go anywhere without having music playing somewhere nearby. I would recommend Just Listen for girls (and women) ages 14 and up, There is a small amount of language, but it’s used tastefully, and it’s a huge issue. I highly recommend this story, I really enjoyed it and I hope other women will to.

I’d give Just Listen five well deserved stars out of five.

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