Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

This is overdue because I completely forgot but anyway…

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen



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.


I had suspicions about what this story was about, to me it was kind of obvious and I was right. The way that it was told reminded me a lot of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson so I guess that’s what gave it away.

I really appreciate all of the important topics that were brought up in this story: depression, eating disorders, body image, bullying, sexual assault,slut shaming, victim blaming and rape.

When Kirsten expressed her concerns to her parent’s about Whitney not eating, I felt like they took it too lightly. Like many books that I’ve read this year I feel that it included bad parenting. The signs were all there and they chose to ignore them. Of course parents want to believe that their children are perfect in as many ways possible but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it took them so long to see what was right in front of them. I also didn’t like how the dad apparently didn’t discuss anything health related because he’s the only man in the house. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like that’s more of a reason to be involved in those talks. Periods shouldn’t gross you out if you’re a grown man who is married to a woman and has daughters.

I guess this is supposed to be a “high school” thing but I wasn’t like this in high school so I just don’t get it. I don’t understand how everyone started rumors about Owen being “dark” and “angry” when all he did was defend himself. Like seriously the other kid was taunting him and started the whole thing. Just because Owen knocked him out with one punch doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. It also just makes no sense that everyone judged him and not the kid that started it.

I hate Sophie. I hated her from the beginning. She’s a mean girl and she refuses to pay attention to the facts that are right in front of her face. If your significant other cheats on you, you can’t just blame the other person. Your S.O. made a choice to do what they did. She kept having all these issues with her boyfriend and other girls (including her two best friends) but couldn’t figure out that the girls weren’t the problem. Also, how do you defend your boyfriend after he was accused of rape? I mean really? That didn’t clear up the whole situation for you? Can you say rape culture?

I’m slightly indifferent toward Annabel. Obviously I feel for her and I am glad that she was able to come forward and move on after doing so. I can’t get over the way she treated Clarke. You don’t ditch your best friend to hook up with a guy. And I don’t get why she was afraid to stand up to Sophie. The way the story was told it didn’t really seem like she got anything important out of their friendship.

I have no feelings toward Rolly. Like, at all.

I liked seeing Whitney’s recovery. I like that it wasn’t just another background detail but that it was really in depth and you got the whole story. I also thought it was interesting that she used Annabel’s ninth birthday/Whitney breaking her arm in so many different ways. That was cool.

While I understand that Owen was upset that Annabel bailed on him, I think he overreacted. He knew that something was wrong, he said so himself. Yet, he still made it all about him. Idk I just think that when you become that close to someone you should know that there was more to the story than she was letting on. I do approve of him punching Will in the face though.

Overall. it wasn’t a bad read. There were some really slow parts but as a whole it was good.

3/5 stars.

I’m currently reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire. I have to admit that it is incredibly slow right now but I’m hoping that it will pick up. If you’ve read it, please tell me that it gets better…..


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About Bookmark Chronicles

Hi! I'm Rae. 24. Avid Reader. Book Blogger. Intersectional Feminist. Gryffinclaw. Coffee & Tea Lover.
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10 Responses to Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

  1. Fantastic review! So many people love Sarah Dessen. The Truth About Forever is the only book of hers I’ve read, and I doubt Just Listen will be the next one because I couldn’t handle the devastation of another story with a theme similar to Speak.

    P.S. Is that a new profile picture? You look so pretty!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Idontwearahat. says:

    Great review. This is my least favourite book from the author. I found it difficult to like.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: December Wrap Up! 2016 | bookmarkchronicles

  4. Pingback: Author Review | Sarah Dessen | bookmarkchronicles

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