Monday, May 7, 2012

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Just Listen

Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Romantic
Published: 2006
Age: 13+

Synopsis: 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. In this multi-layered, impossible-to-put-down book, Sarah Dessen tells the story of a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfect facade.

Review: After being caught with her best friend's Sophie's boyfriend at a summer party, Annabel Greene is starting her junior year alone and ostracized. But what appeared to be infidelity was really attempted rape. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak (1999) will find obvious parallels here, including the play on the title, but Dessen spins her own quality tale of a young girl finding her voice, and finding an audience. Annabel's troubles are exacerbated by her family's refusal to acknowledge its problems: middle sister Whitney's severe anorexia or the three sisters' waning interest in modeling. A budding friendship with classmate Owen, a dj at the community radio station who is never without music to drown out the silence, helps Annabel listen to her own heart and risk speaking out honestly. Characterization and dialogue are expertly done, and Owen's anger-management advice and efforts to broaden Annabel's music tastes (Don't think, or judge. Just listen ) strengthen the theme of the story: honesty. Teen girls who meet Dessen for the first time here will be looking for her backlist. - Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!


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