First Published: April 6th 2006 by Viking Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult.
Setting: Lakeview, North Carolina.
Narrative: First person.
Dessen’s Just Listen talks about this and more.
The story is about Annabel Greene, a model in making. She’s “the girl who has everything” – that’s what the TV commercial she’s worked on, says. But her having “everything” won’t make a good book. She’s the daughter who doesn't do what she wants to (which is not being a model) because she's afraid of being just
another dagger in her mother's already wounded heart. The youngest of the three sisters, Annabel strives for having someone who she could talk her heart out to but never comes down to doing that. All of her friends leave her, some because of the mistake she didn't make, others because of their misunderstandings. She spends her time with no one but herself. Until the day the 'Big' guy Owen tells her about the choices she has. Owen Armstrong is a classmate obsessed with music, freshly out of the Anger Management programme. They both work on their lives and try to make sense of it as they begin to listen not only to each other, but also to the voice coming from deep within. Parallel to this runs the story of Annabel’s two sisters. The eldest and the rebellious one is Kirsten, who’s been a model but had quit and joined the college. The middle sister Whitney is a model who has pushed herself too far in the profession. All the sisters are very different from each other but there’s one story that binds them all together.
Sarah Dessen, heart-touching books have not just attracted the target young adults but also the parents. She takes up adolescents’ issues like teenage pregnancy, anger issues, depression etc. Just Listen, for instance, talks about anorexia and rape of a teenager. And though the book doesn’t have a “How to
Deal With…” in the title, the story does help a great deal in making the reader understand the ways these situations could be dealt with. And most of the times, the solution is to “just listen.” So, all that you need to do is to just read and form your own opinion about the book because hey, it's totally worth it!
- Mansi Sharma