Kirkus Reviews QR Code
JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen


by Sarah Dessen

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-670-06105-0
Publisher: Viking

An easily digestible tale about a 17-year-old model who, despite her recent back-to-school clothing commercial, isn’t really “[t]he girl who has everything.” Annabel secretly wants to quit modeling; one of her sisters has an eating disorder; and their mother’s past depression makes expressing any unhappiness feel risky. Underneath Annabel’s silence is a secret from the previous spring, a secret that astute readers will decode early on. It’s the reason she’s a social outcast and it makes her cling extra hard to fake cheerfulness. Oddball schoolmate Owen cracks her shield with candor and music, and Annabel learns to speak her own truth. Readers may be disappointed that after so much buildup to the moments of truth-telling (one to her family, one to Owen), we’re not privy to the scenes. Despite dark issues, the overall tone is mild. Dessen’s characterizations are glib, each metaphor and major point made explicit. Not deep, but absorbing and enjoyable. (Fiction. YA)