Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Listen

by Sarah Dessen

The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

First paragraph: "I taped the commercial back in April, before anything had happened, and promptly forgot about it. A weeks ago, it had started running, and suddenly, I was everywhere.


Annabel Greene is the girl who has everything. At least, that's what she portrays in her modeling shoots. But Annabel's life is far from perfect. Her friendship with Sophie ended bitterly, and her older sister's eating disorder is weighing down the entire family. Isolated and ostracized at school and at home, Annabel retreats into silent acceptance. Then she meets Owen---intense, music-obsessed, and determined to always tell the truth. And with his guidance, Annabel learns to just listen to herself and gains the courage to speak honestly. But will she be able to tell everyone what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends?

Had I read this book two years ago I probably would have given it five stars. I think I'm starting to be more picky with my books. It was well written, interesting, the story kept you turning the page, but it lacked what my "five-star books" have.

You have to be pretty oblivious not to figure out what happened to Annabel the night her and Sophie stopped being friends. And maybe that was the point -- that particular event wasn't the plot device that was meant to keep you reading. But there weren't a whole lot of other unexpected things that happened either. You sort of knew where things were going and how they'd end. But the great thing about this book is that it was still pretty entertaining to read regardless.

In Adult Fiction there are usually a lot of F-bombs. I don't really like seeing them in YA Fiction but this book had a few. I guess it was to help build the the impression you were supposed to have of one of the characters but I don't buy it. I think there are ways to make someone a rough and tough teenager with out using that word. But that's just my opinion.

I really did enjoy the way Dessen handled the more serious topics that were broached in the story. She was able to show that everyone handles certain situations differently and just because one person did it one way doesn't mean they did it wrong. They did what they thought was best for their family and most importantly themselves at that point in their lives.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book. I think it'd probably rate at about three stars nowadays but that isn't a bad thing. It just means there are other books I've enjoyed more.

Click here for Sarah Dessen's Just Listen website.

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