Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

82%

33 Critic Reviews

...Sarah Dessen is at the top of my list of favorite authors in this genre. If you're heading into any kind of reading slump – why not give her a try? Just Listen would be a great place to start.
-All About Romance

Synopsis

To find the truth you’ve got to be willing to hear it.
 
When she’s modeling, Annabel is the picture of perfection.
 
But her real life is far from perfect.
 
Fortunately, she’s got Owen. He’s intense, music-obsessed, and dedicated to always telling the truth.
 
And most of all, he’s determined to make Annabel happy. . .
 
“This is young adult fiction at its best.” —School Library Journal
 
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Dreamland
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye
 

About Sarah Dessen

See more books from this Author
Sarah Dessen is the author of seven previous novels for young adults, including the "New York Times" bestseller "Just Listen," She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
 
Published February 28, 2008 by Speak. 396 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Arts & Photography. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Just Listen
All: 33 | Positive: 29 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Above average
on May 20 2010

Dessen’s characterizations are glib, each metaphor and major point made explicit. Not deep, but absorbing and enjoyable.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jan 11 2016

Comparisons to Melinda, the heroine of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak , are inevitable. Dessen packs a lot into this novel, perhaps too much; but Annabel and Owen's finely limned connection alone gives this novel staying power.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by XoXo, BOOK WORM_98 on Jun 01 2013

For me, this book was about the real thing! How issues are actually dealt with, relationships formed and family ties strengthened, and not like your usual OMG teenager drama!

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Dear Author

Good
Reviewed by Jane Litte on Apr 21 2006

This is Story of My Life Annabel, who suffers a not uncommon high school experience, and who excels at avoidance...When Annabel begins a relationship with Owen, who specializes in truth telling, she begins to find courage within herself to face her worst fears...But the flaws were few and your writing, as always, was a wonder to read.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Jackson on Sep 28 2010

Just Listen is a book that teenage girls should read either before or when they're in high school so they get a sense of who they really are and how to stay happy, even when others are trying to get them down. It's a book that people will enjoy and want to read others by Sarah Dessen.

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All About Romance

Good
Reviewed by Rachel Potter on Oct 07 2014

...Sarah Dessen is at the top of my list of favorite authors in this genre. If you're heading into any kind of reading slump – why not give her a try? Just Listen would be a great place to start.

Read Full Review of Just Listen | See more reviews from All About Romance

The Bookbag

Excellent
Reviewed by Zoe Page on Jul 01 2007

Every so often you'll come across a new author and be blown away, instantly eagerly awaiting their next book. This is how I felt when I finished this book - I wanted more, and I wanted it now.

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Teen Reads

Good
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on Apr 06 2006

Her journey to this difficult realization is not an easy one, but her clear voice and her introspection will make readers eager to take that journey with her.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by avalancheLily on Jan 22 2016

There are ups and downs and serious themes in this book, and although the ending is rather predictable, the characters are painfully real. Just Listen gives a sensitive recounting while confronting teenage problems head on.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Jan 22 2016

This book was really good because it seemed really realistic. The characters were around my age so I could sort of imagine everything that was happening.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by ps13795 on Jan 22 2016

Dessen uses the familiar psychological exploration that you can find in all her books, and with "Just Listen" gives us another book to learn from and love. I give this book a 99 out of 10!

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by vballgal4695 on Jan 22 2016

In all, Just Listen is an eye-opening experience about speaking out about pressures and things that happen to you. Annabel, not completely relatable, but pretty exciting to read about, embarks on a journey as soon as she first speaks to Owen.

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Things Mean a Lot

Good
Reviewed by Ana S on Apr 07 2010

Just Listen is a book full of silences. That was both my favourite thing about it and the thing I struggled with the most...This is a story about how a dysfunctional family affects a teenage girl’s outlook...and it’s outstanding because the family is portrayed complexly enough that we can both feel for them and resent their effect on Annabel.

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https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Good
Reviewed by Matt Berman on Apr 09 2008

In all of the main and secondary characters, there's an intriguing emotional complexity that is usually missing in teen problem novels. It may seem odd to say it about a book in which, for large stretches, so little actually happens, but this is a real page-turner.

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For Love and Books

Good
on Nov 26 2012

Just Listen is an absolutely beautiful coming of age story, one that makes you (even as an adult) reach inside yourself and inspect who you really are! I highly recommend snagging a copy and diving into the pages! You won’t regret it!

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Flamingnet

Excellent
on Apr 09 2006

I thought this book was even better than previous Darah Dessen books. I could not put this book down until the very last sentence.

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A Good Stopping Point

Above average
Reviewed by Christy on Nov 27 2010

And bravo to Dessen for the fleshed-out characterizations in Just Listen! I was particularly impressed with her handling of minor characters...Dessen’s minor and background character feel like they’ve been ‘in motion’ all along and we are just catching pieces of their trajectory as they cross Annabel’s story.

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Reading Teen

Above average
Reviewed by Abigaile on Apr 28 2010

Over all, you could say that I liked this book. It's just that I don't enjoy being depressed the whole entire book.

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Reading Rants

Good
on May 04 2007

Slow, thoughtful, and thought-provoking like all of Sarah Dessen’s marvelous chick lit, Just Listen is a quiet story of a girl in crisis who learns that life is about taking charge even when it seems like you have lost all control.

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The Compulsive Reader

Good
Reviewed by The Compulsive Reader on Aug 07 2010

This book is heavy with symbolism, from the title to the final page, but Dessen never overdoes it--Just Listen is a beautiful, meaningful, and pitch perfect novel that will make readers Dessen fans for life.

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The Starry-Eyed Revue

Excellent
Reviewed by April on May 15 2014

Now I’m not a Dessen expert, but if you love contemporary that’s going to make you feel everything, give Just Listen a try! Seriously, you won’t be sorry. I went with Audio, and I have to say the Narrator was pretty good. Loved this book.

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Into the Hall of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Asheley T. on Jun 29 2012

After finishing the book just a little while ago, my nerves are still torn up. I can't deal with stuff like this in the books. I mean, Just Listen was a really GOOD book. And I'm super proud of myself for finally being able to admit that I've read a Dessen. But there was some stuff in here that made my heart pound in not-great ways.

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I Eat Words

Good
Reviewed by I Eat Words on Feb 28 2013

...I definitely fell in love with this reread. I love that Dessen always heavily focuses on family and creates these beautiful metaphors...

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A Book and a Latte

Good
Reviewed by Jen on Jun 14 2011

Just Listen is about honesty… being honest with others and most importantly yourself. This is now my favorite Sarah Dessen novel.

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A Girl, Books and Other Things

Good
Reviewed by Alex on May 12 2011

I actually love this book. It's one of my favorites both by Sarah Dessen and in general. I do think that it starts a little slow, and that it takes time for Annabel to build up her courage, but she's very likable and I find Owen kind of swoony...

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Ringo the Cat

Above average
on Mar 07 2014

There was nothing in this book – which actually has a bit of a Speak-vibe, btw – that I didn’t expect, which means, that yes, although Dessen is definitely following a formula, her writing and character development is up to par...

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Mimosa Stimulus

Good
Reviewed by Jenny on May 14 2011

I absolutely adore Annabel and Owen. Their characters are so honest and real, and I can't get enough of their conversations and interactions with each other.

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YA Crush

Good
Reviewed by Tee on May 12 2011

There is a real sweetness to their relationship, which develops slowly from a friendship to something more...It’s Sarah Desseny goodness all the way around.

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The Tales Compendium

Excellent
Reviewed by Jess on Mar 01 2011

A fantastic read that deals with real life issues such as friendship, family life, relationships, eating disorders, sexual assault and personal discovery.

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Me, My Book, and My Couch

Excellent
Reviewed by Shonda on Aug 01 2009

I highly recommend this book. Ms. Dessen is a great author. Though her targeted audience is young adults, I believe adult readers will be impressed with her ability to bring characters to life.

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Reading After Midnight

Good
on Jan 23 2016

For all these, there is this book – about broken hearts, and lost dreams, about loneliness, and silent cries, about being too late and second chances, about love in every form we can find it.

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Book Strings

Excellent
Reviewed by Devan on May 13 2011

This is another one of my favorite SD novels. Annabel is a very relatable character. Actually, all of the characters in this book had great character development.

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YA Novelties

Good
Reviewed by Jenny on Aug 08 2012

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.

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Reader Rating for Just Listen
87%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 708 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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DENICE VELARDE

DENICE VELARDE 5 Sep 2013

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