Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
on 31 August 2008
Just Listen is a story of choices, family, love, friendship and music. A strange combination, but it's one of those things that makes this book unsual.
Annabelle, like most of Sarah Dessen's main characters, is somewhat reserved. While I know there are justifiable reasons for this, it's still slightly annoying that her protagonists always have a similar 'voice'.
Annabelle is very much alone in the story, her ex-friend Sophie spreading vicious rumours about her after her boyfriend, Will, harrassed Annabelle. Her old friend Clark doesn't speak to her, either, and Annabelle is initially too shy to speak to 'intense' Owen. Her family is slowly being driven apart, first by the death of their grandmother, which shatters her soft-spoken mother, then an illness developed by her older sister Whitney, her dad and eldest sister Kirsten both on the sidelines. Whitney being the strong, silent-type and Kirsten being hyperactive and assertive.
Annabelle was an interesting character to read about. Despite her ordeal with Will, her struggles to keep her family close together, and her awkward experiences with Owen and Clark, she still remains quiet about everything, which was very frustrating. While I felt sorry for her and was moved by her isolation, other times I wanted to slap her and tell her to get ahold of herself. The fact she is surprised Will strikes again and that the victim (another ex-friend of Annabelle's) speaks out, seems to be a rather stupid reaction on her part. Owen wasn't particularly likeable, personally, as his bluntness and bossy attitude began to grow irritating. While Owen and Annabelle eventually end up together (which is obvious and inevitable) I felt like their relationship developed very slowly, which was frustrating. While it was an engaging read, it was fairly obvious in the book what was going to happen next. Possibly better to rent rather then buy.