Monday, October 11, 2010

Book review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Tiny synopsis: On paper Annabelle is the ideal high school student. So much so that the local department store cast her as the it-girl in their back-to-school campaign. But in real life, Annabelle feels anything but ideal. Whether it's dealing with family drama, or a former best friend that hates her, her defense mechanism is to keep it all inside. Until she can't anymore.

This is the second SD book I've read and I am really digging on her style. I like that her characters are authentic and have real problems, but are not necessarily having a lot of drama just for the sake of drama. She does an incredible job with making teenage life serious, and teenagers' problems serious, without going overboard.
I think this is key because teenager's problems ARE serious to them, and I like the sense of respect she has for this.

She is also completely dead-on in terms of characters and description. In my first draft some of my characters were distinct, and a few were suffering from "background character template" issues. I never get the sense that SD has this problem-- every character is clear-cut, well-developed, holistic, and distinct.

I'm envious, but also hoping I learn something from reading her.

I enjoyed this book, and recommend it.


  1. This is probably my favorite Sarah Dessen book - I've read 4 now. I think her beginnings are really slow, but her characters never fail to impress me. Read Dreamlands - that one's good too.

  2. sounds great-- will add it to the list! Thanks Angie

  3. i liked this one too :) she has a great voice for teens i think. we have such a different cover here - so funny seeing the US one

    I liked your review too :)


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