Sunday, September 20, 2020

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen Sarah Dessen
Photo courtesy of
Released: April 2006

Just Listen is the seventh YA novel by Sarah Dessen and the third novel I've read by this author. I'm an occasional reader of YA romance and I love Dessen's writing style, so I'll usually grab her titles when I see them at secondhand book stores.

Just Listen is about a high school girl named Annabel Greene who begins the new school year with a bad reputation thanks to rumors being spread about her by her former best friend Sophie. Even when modeling part-time when she's not in school, Annabel just can't seem to escape hearing about how she supposedly slept with her best friend's boyfriend.

While eating lunch in seclusion every day to escape dirty looks in the lunchroom, Annabel befriends Owen—an outsider with a reputation for being one of the scariest, meanest-tempered kids in school. Owen introduces Annabel to his eclectic music, and teaches her about the importance of being honest and acting like her true self regardless of what others may think. Her blossoming friendship with Owen teaches Annabel how to speak up about the truth regarding what really happened between her and Sophie's boyfriend, and about her true goals when it comes to her future—and it doesn't involve modeling.

I read novels by Sarah Dessen not necessarily because I love her stories, but because I love the way she writes, and how her books evoke emotion and make me feel things. She has a magical way of making characters come alive on paper, and of making me reminisce about my own high school days and experiences. I have no doubt her novels are highly inspirational for teens and young adults, as her protagonists always end up learning important life lessons by the book's end.

In Just Listen, I particularly liked how Owen's character was realistic in that he acted just like a high school boy, and not like the overly mature young men high schoolers are painted out to be in most movies, TV shows, and other YA books. I had a few male friends just like Owen in high school, so reading this book was a somewhat nostalgic experience.

Here are the latest novels written by Sarah Dessen, featured on

What are your favorite books by Sarah Dessen? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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