Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just Listen

I've read and reviewed all of Sarah Dessen's novels:

The Moon and More
Dreamland
What Happened to Goodbye
Lock and Key
This Lullaby
That Summer
Someone Like You
Along for the Ride
Keeping the Moon
The Truth about Forever

But when I was reading Dessen's Five Facts on Twitter about the books, I realized that I had never read Just Listen. What a treat!

From the outside, Annabel looks like she has the perfect life: she is a model, literally lives in a glass house with her beautiful sisters, and was one of the most popular girls in school. In reality, she hates modeling, her family has its share of problems, and she has been shunned because of some gossip started by a former friend. Exiled to eating lunch alone, Annabel meets Owen, another loner who is committed to honesty and "enlightened" music, and learns that telling the truth is the most important thing you can do.

I loved this book, and can't tell if it is because it was a surprise gift of unread Dessen, or if it was the story. Owen is an amazing character and I hope that he inspires teenage readers to give a chance to students that they might dismiss as weird or losers. I also think his honesty policy will help all readers to consider their words before they speak, or at least not fall back on the default "I'm fine" when they really aren't. This would be a perfect "light" accompaniment to Laurie Halse Anderson's classic, Speak.

Hooray for reading surprises! Sarah Dessen forever!

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