Sunday, November 25, 2012

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I got to spend a couple of great days hanging out with family and it's been nice to just relax for a little while. Of course, I've been spending the last two days trying to kind of make up for that. 

It's 30 days until Christmas and I still have a lot of projects to finish. I have finished sixteen so far, leaving 34 to go. I have three of them currently at about a half way stage, but we ran into a snag with one of them a few days ago. Hopefully we'll get that figured out. 

In the meantime, my staff reminded me that I promised earlier this year to make stockings for the office. Yup...apparently I'm a complete glutton for punishment. I really have 4 additional projects to finish. Fantastic. I am (happily) nearly done with one of them.

I am just about as efficient in my keeping up with my reading goal. I have been reading nearly every day, but I'm still struggling to get caught up. I am still 10 books behind according to my book tracker on Goodreads. I have completed 47 books so far. There have been some really good ones this year and I've found some great new authors. 

Sarah Dessen is one of those authors. Her book Just Listen is Young Adult Fiction, but I just loved it. I think I'm finding that I'm quite the sucker for that genre. Just Listen is a love story of sorts. I say sorts because it's not the typical teenage drama. is, but it isn't.

Annabel has been ostracized. Her former best friend, Sophie has dropped her as a friend due to something that happened over the summer. Sophie is popular at school and has managed to turn everyone against Annabel, leaving her friendless and alone. Until she meets Owen. Owen is also an outcast, but he has become comfortable with his individuality. He is strong, mysterious, and has a bad reputation. He's solitary mostly by choice and spends the majority of time listening to music. He and Annabel slowly begin interacting. Over time, their friendship develops and Owen helps Annabel to realize that maybe she isn't who she really thought she needed to be.

I loved this book. It was really cute and a quick read. I loved, loved, loved Owen. He is such an awesome character. He's wise beyond his years, quirky and cute, and completely comfortable in his own skin. He's unlike a good majority of teenagers. Heck...he's unlike a good majority of adults. Sure...he has his flaws, but he has a handle on things in a way that most people never will. Most people never find themselves as comfortable in their own skin as Owen. He is blunt, honest, and real. He isn't perfect. He isn't the captain of the football team. He isn't the smartest kid in school. He is different from most fictional teenage boys.

It may sound like a typical plot for a teenage love story: girl likes boy, boy doesn't know girl exists, girl gets to know boy, boy falls in love with girl, but I promise you that it isn't the same old story. Just Listen isn't canned literature. It's unique. It can't just be pegged as another teenage love story. It's just special. I know it's going to sound super corny and sappy to say, but it's just a feel good book with a good lesson behind it. Honestly, it's a lesson that everyone stands to learn. Sometimes you just have to be accepting of who you really are...quit worrying about what everyone else thinks.

I ended up giving Just Listen by Sarah Dessen 4 out of 5 stars. I withheld the 5th star simply because I didn't feel like this was a book that I would read over and over again...mostly because I think I just felt that there needed to be more. The ending just wasn't as solid as I wanted to be. It left me wanting more. Maybe that should've been a good thing...but I think the fact that it isn't a book in a series just left me mildly frustrated. Notice though...I said mildly. I still recommend this book. (And yes...I'll probably read it again.)


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