Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Book Addict Reviews: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Social Issue, Music
Order Online:
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars
Borrowed from library.

In A Nutshell:
So many of the books I have read recently have drawn on the importance of music to teens--how it is a way to express themselves, to cope with the events going on in their lives, a passion that brings them back from dark and depressing places.  In some ways, I worried that Just Listen would not have anything new to bring to my experience.  But Just Listen is not like any of the other books related to music that I have read.  My only regret is that I put it off so long.

Annabel's life looks perfect from the outside.  She models and has become an inspiration to younger girls.  She lives in a glass house where people passing by have the opportunity to see a picturesque view a modern family eating dinner or seating together in the living room.  With so much of her life open to the world, its easy to think that she does not have any secrets.  That her life is everything that can be seen from the outside.

But Annabel has secrets that she keeps in an effort to keep the peace in her house.  She cannot bear to tell her mother for fear that her mother will have another breakdown.  She cannot bear to tell her sisters because they are both dealing with their own serious problems.  She cannot tell her friends because many of them abandoned her after an episode at a party.

She is alone in her struggles until she meets Owen.  Owen is not the typical YA hero.  He is big and a little clumsy.  He has been arrested and had to undergo an anger management course.  At first Annabel is a little intimidated by Owen, then Annabel was awed by Owen's complete honesty, then Annabel was a little scared of Owen because he saw through her more than anyone.

As much as I loved the story and the characters, I was a little underwhelmed with the audiobook.  The narrator did try really hard to use different voices for different characters but some of the voices came out sounding slower and not at all the way I thought the characters would have sounded if I had been reading the book.  I do not recommend this narrator, but the story itself was wonderful.      

Sarah Dessen is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, which you could probably tell from the reviews I have done already This Lullaby and What Happened to Goodbye.  I want to read all of her books and I think my next one will be:


  1. I'm so happy that you liked it. I never tried Sarah Dessen on audiobook, so maybe I'll have to do that...

    I loved Annabel and Owen. On the surface, they seemed like such an odd couple, but then it worked.

  2. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. I am glad you liked it (as did I), the book I've liked the most is The Truth About Forever.

  3. @Jen Ryland I agree that Annabel and Owen seemed like they would be such an odd couple--particularly in the beginning when the descriptions of them emphasized how different they were. But as they got closer and started feeling like a couple she seemed to stop emphasizing their differences in the descriptions of them. It made them seem more and more alike. :)

    @Liza I am pretty sure that is going to be my next Sarah Dessen book. :)

  4. I usually don't do audiobooks because when I listen to them it's in the car, and it's hard to concentrate on both. Plus, I love to listen to music, but I may have to give this one a try. Nice review!

  5. When I am in my car, I tend to listen to music (or sing the ABC song at least 10 times with my daughter--it is a current favorite). :)

    But I ride the bus to work everyday and I also have been going on walks by myself for at least 30 minutes in the afternoon. For those I like to listen to an audiobook. I will say that narrator can make a huge huge difference. And if I get a few tracks in and don't like the narrator I will quit the book (and put it in my hard copy TBR pile). But some narrators are amazing and really bring the book to life for me. :)

  6. I really like Sarah Dessen (she's got a great blog too), and JUST LISTEN is one of my favorites.

  7. I'll have to try Sarah Dessen's audiobooks. Annabel and Owen are such a cute couple! I love how unconventionally awesome Owen is!

  8. @Ajoop I love her books as audiobooks--she picks (or whoever does the picking) good narrators.

    Owen grew on me...initially I wasn't 100% sure about him. But at the end I was totally smitten with him too!