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Just Listen Paperback – February 28, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 349 customer reviews

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A compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. "Pax" is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up Annabel Greene seemingly had everything: cool friends, close family, good grades, and a part-time modeling career in town. But it all came crashing down, and Annabel has spent the summer in shaky, self-imposed exile. She finds herself dreading the new school term and facing, well, everyone again. The last thing she wants to do is revisit old friendships while the losses are painful, the secrets behind the rifts are almost unbearable. Her solid family seems fragile, too. What happened to cause the stiff silences and palpable resentments between her two older sisters? Why is no one in her loving but determinedly cheerful family talking about her middle sister's eating disorder? Annabel's devastating secret is revealed in bits and snatches, as readers see her go to amazing lengths to avoid confrontation. Caught between wanting to protect her family and her own struggles to face a devastating experience, Annabel finds comfort in an unlikely friendship with the school's most notorious loner. Owen has his own issues with anger, but has learned to control it and helps her realize the dangers of holding in her emotions. Dessen explores the interior and exterior lives of her characters and shows their flaws, humanity, struggles, and incremental successes. This is young adult fiction at its best, delving into the minds of complex, believable teens, bringing them to life, and making readers want to know more about them with each turn of the page. Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. After being caught with her best friend's Sophie's boyfriend at a summer party, Annabel Greene is starting her junior year alone and ostracized. But what appeared to be infidelity was really attempted rape. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak (1999) will find obvious parallels here, including the play on the title, but Dessen spins her own quality tale of a young girl finding her voice, and finding an audience. Annabel's troubles are exacerbated by her family's refusal to acknowledge its problems: middle sister Whitney's severe anorexia or the three sisters' waning interest in modeling. A budding friendship with classmate Owen, a dj at the community radio station who is never without music to drown out the silence, helps Annabel listen to her own heart and risk speaking out honestly. Characterization and dialogue are expertly done, and Owen's anger-management advice and efforts to broaden Annabel's music tastes ("Don't think, or judge. Just listen") strengthen the theme of the story: honesty. Teen girls who meet Dessen for the first time here will be looking for her backlist. Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0810 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (February 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142410977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142410974
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

I've been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I'd sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think it's just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it's hard not to do it all the time."The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn't tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it's the best thing to which any writer can aspire. "As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that's a good thing. It's always more fun to make stuff up anyway."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
How beautifully written this book is, I cannot even begin to explain, nor would I ever do it justice. It's hard to believe that Dessen's books keep getting better and better, because I always wonder how she's going to top the last one. Somehow, she always does, and in a way that leaves you desperate for more. I have never been one to re-read books, but I absolutely cannot lay this book to rest. I want to re-live the story, because I can't bear to let the characters go.

Annabel is facing the hardest school year of her life. She's dealing with a lot of family issues including her sister's severe battle with anorexia, and trying to tell her mother that she desperatly wants to quit modeling. Her ex-best friend Sophie no longer talks to her, because she thinks that Annabel slept with her boyfriend, but the truth is far deeper and the worst part is that nobody knows. Now that her friends have turned on her she has nobody until Owen Armstrong, the most unlikely person, befriends her and makes her see life in a new light.

Dessen did a beautiful job of portraying family relationships and how difficult it can be when you have to sacrifice for them. You feel so much a part of this book that it's as if you are sitting at the table with them arguing, crying, screaming, laughing, talking, or holding one another. The struggle with friendships is so real and honest that I'm sure every one of us can relate in some sense to the loss of a best friend, or a misunderstanding that never was resolved that Annabel deals with on a daily basis. The pain she has to endure while desperately hiding the truth from everyone else is incredible and you feel so deeply for her that it may bring you to tears or just want to reach into the book and give her a big hug.
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Format: Hardcover
Sarah Dessen's latest novel focuses on Annabel, the youngest in her family and the sweet, nice one who avoids confrontation and, ever since becoming best friends with the popular-yet-caustic Sophie, avoids standing up for herself. Her family's attention is centred around her older sister Whitney and her eating disorder, and Annabel's white lies - telling her mom she's fine, not discussing the night when she and Sophie stopped being friends - keep things going smoothly. It's not until she meets Owen Armstrong, another 'outcast' at school who quotes Anger Management phrases at her, that she becomes aware of how often she lies, and more importantly, how often she simply fails to tell the truth. This is a story about a lot of things, from complex family relationships to the world of modeling to the importance of music, but mostly it's the story of one girl finding her voice, and letting people hear the sometimes painful but always true things that she needs to say.
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A Kid's Review on October 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Just Listen

Sarah Dessen

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Annabel Greene plays a girl who has everything in the commercial for Kopf's Department Store: she is the top student, popular cheerleader, dazzling prom queen surrounded by friends. In real life though, Annabel Greene is the total opposite. She has no best friend anymore because of Sophie, who ended up spreading rumors about Annabel after one little mistake that wasn't even Annabel's fault. Not only that, but Annabel has to deal with the awkward times at home with her sister's eating disorder, and Annabel not being comfortable about life and speaking her mind at all.

Then she meets a guy named Owen Armstrong, who isn't your usual Romeo, but Annabel learns something very valuable from him... truth. Owen Armstrong is a high schooler who is never parted with his ipod or CD player. Before Annabel was rejected by all of her friends, she had heard that Owen was a freak.Annabel had wondered what he was always listening to. When they become friends, he amazes her with his honesty and confidence. Soon, Annabel is telling Owen all of her feelings that she has wanted to get out for a long time, and they become close until she makes a big mistake-again.

I highly recommend this book for readers who like people like Meg Cabot and similar authors.Sarah Dessen has a way that keeps me interested in her story. If you have read certain books by Sarah Dessen too, you can recognise some of the characters in this story that is brought back from a different point of veiw which I thought was very cool.

I enjoyed reading this book because I was able to put myself into Annabel's shoes, and I wanted to just jump into the book and be her!
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Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book at work and couldnt put it down!

Annabel is facing every sixteen year olds worst nightmare, school with no friends. She enters the eleventh grade as a social outcast, forced to sit on the wall away from the rest of her schoolmates. Formerly popular Annabel Greene is shunned by her classmates for an unexplained reason (we find out later why). Not only is life tough at school but also at home. Through the help of Owen, Annabel is able to talk about what has happened and learn to speak honestly about her feelings.

This novel truly explains what it is like to be a sixteen-year-old girl. Every woman can relate to the main character, from conflicting emotions to unspeakable tragedy. This book is applicable to all young women whether they have experienced eating disorders, attempted rape or not. The reader becomes part of the family through the small details expressed by Dessen. This book should be read by women and girls everywhere, the author helps to show women that life moves on and that hope emerges even in the midst of adversity. Enjoy!
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