BOOK REVIEW: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 2/5 stars ★★

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“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”


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.


2 of 5 stars to Just Listen by Sarah Dessen


I have a more passionate tirade for this book but somehow I have forgotten the words in my mind as I am late to posting my review on the blog. Just note that I didn’t like this book. I enjoyed reading some parts but I’m mostly annoyed by the heroine.

There is not another YA heroine who frustrated me as much as Annabel did in Just Listen. I get that this book is about breaking out of her fears but she could’ve done it in a lesser irritating way. It’s sad cause I even found myself relating to her. I thought of the redeeming qualities the book has like the talk of music and Owen enough to consider giving this book a higher rating but then I also thought of all the things I didn’t like—it was a lot—so the 2 star rating seemed apt. If I were to personify this book, she’ll be a 13 year old drama queen who exaggerated and dramatized everything. A smattering of symbolic moments is fine but including it in every single one is just tiring and frankly, worthy of eye rolls.

The first few chapters worked like this: introduction of several characters with Annabel providing the history with each one. It was okay at first but then as I continued on, I got tired reading the same flow again and again. There were at least ten characters the heroine told about and it was longggggggggg before we got to the main point.  I found myself lost to the flow of the story because there were too many flashbacks, too many back stories to catch up on. I get that yes, it’s part of understanding the story and how their situation came to be but there was too much going on. It would’ve been fine if the long historical explanations were limited to the people but no, it extended to the non living as well. The house, the photograph–again I get that it is symbolic but why can’t any freaking single thing in Annabel’s life be normal for once? She describes everything in a dramatic way! The wind, the sun, the soil, the clouds, her car’s dashboard, her car compartment, the wall at her school, the bathroom, e-ve-ry-thing. It got annoying and I found myself sighing as I skipped through her “oh how my life sucks” ramblings.

I think Dessen has sucked the writing world all of its dramas! If this is how Dessen writes all her book, I don’t think I’ll pick up anything of hers again.


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