4.5 Stars! Check out this review on our blog
In the Goodreads summary Just Listen seem like it was going to be one of those something-horrible-happened-to-super-popular-girl-now-super-popular-girl-is-a-loser type of contemporary books, but it was much more than that.
Annabel isn't your typical popular girl. She's actually really shy and more of the behind the scenes girl. She's more popular by association with the school's mean girl, Sophie, who used to be Annabel's best friend until that night. I was really curious about what the heck happened that night, but I sort of figure it out and after that I just had to read a couple hundred more pages until my suspicions were confirmed, which bugged me a little. The thing about Annabel was that she was bullied by her "friend" Sophie all the time, this angered me so much I just wanted Annabel to stand up to Sophie, but during their time as "friends" she never did. Eventually though, Annabel realizes what a bully Sophie was.
There were a lot of flashbacks showing Sophie and Annabel as preteens and Annabel and her family before everything went sour. I really liked these flashbacks. They really added to the story and showed how significantly different things are from now and back then. Instead of saying things are different, it showed us how things were different.
Sophie: This girl is just a ball of evilness! Even in the flashbacks of when she was a kid, she was just so gosh darn evil. Sophie is suppose to be Annabel's "best friend", but she acts nothing like a friend. She is a bully to Annabel and Annabel just takes being bullied by her "friend", which I found very annoying on Annabel's part. I hated Sophie, but I think that is her role in this book, to be hated by the readers as bad as that sounds. Sophie is definitely a very flat character; we only see her a the evil bully type, who ruined our protagonist's life.
Owen is the one who helps Annabel and in a way Annabel helps Owen as well. With Owen's guidance Annabel learns to listen to herself and she finally gains the confidence to tell the truth about what really happened that night.
This book was very inspirational. Finding the courage to speak up is hard to do, but I think Sarah Dessen wrote a beautiful novel of how it can be done. But besides Annabel's situation, Just Listen also mentions eating disorders and how they can hurt a whole family. Annabel's oldest sister is a model, who develops an eating disorder, but no one in the family talks about it and this is why it hurts them so much. This topic was just touched upon, but I think it showed just how bad not talking about something can be.
Jenny @YA Novelties