Review: Just Listen

Just Listen
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall a good story, but too much telling and summarizing for my tastes. I grew annoyed with Annabel (the main character and narrator) as the story progressed; she took far too long to just TELL Owen what was going on.
Things I didn’t like:

Annabel deals with two large issues throughout the book: 1) coming to terms with being raped by Will; 2) working up the courage to tell her mother she doesn’t want to model anymore. She’s shoved both of those inside, bottling them up and avoiding them, pretending everything’s OK. Owen, by contrast, is 100% honest and always tells the truth. I kept waiting for the inevitable scene where Annabel finally tells Owen about the rape. She does (after her annoying avoidance tendencies causes a cliched falling out between them), BUT that entire scene is only summarized. WHAT? After ALL the build-up, we don’t even get to witness it?!

It’s the same deal with Annabel telling her mother she wants to quit modeling. So much build up, but all we get is a two-sentence summary to the effect of, “I told my mother I wanted to quit and I know it will be hard for her but…”. I wanted to see the actual scene, not read a summary!! I felt cheated, having read 300+ pages for nothing!

It wasn’t horrible. The scenes containing dialogue and stuff happening were great. I loved Annabel’s sisters. I wish there could have been more of that. The flow halted each time Annabel lapsed into paragraph after paragraph of summary. It would have been so much better to SHOW us everything instead of TELLING us. I know Sarah Dessen is a great writer (plus she’s from my home state), but I didn’t prefer the writing style in this book.

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