Sunday, January 6, 2008

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I recommend this book for: high school

Have I mentioned how much I love Sarah Dessen? I devoured The Truth About Forever last summer, and Just Listen fully met my high expectations.

Annabel is a teen model who had it all, until her popular and wild best friend disowned her. Now life is misery - she has to deal with being an absolute pariah at school and the ugly insults of her former friends on top of her home problems - one older sister has an eating disorder and Mom could fall into depression at any moment. The only thing that seems to keep her going is Annabel's modeling . . . and Annabel doesn't want to do it anymore. Add in the true reason that her friends have cast her out - what happened at that party - and you get some serious issues.

Throw in Owen, an angry loner who stays inside the world of his iPod and happens to come upon Annabel when she needs some help. The beginning of their friendship, which blossoms into more, is a turning point for Annabel as she starts to learn about music, anger management and making herself happy.

This is not a book I could talk in middle schools: there's teen drinking and partying, and one vivid scene of sexual assault which is crucial to the story. For readers mature enough to handle that, this is a fantastic story with characters as alive as the ones you meet in any high school, where a girl learns not only how to just listen, but how to speak up.

The pros.

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