Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

This isn't the first Sarah Dessen novel I have read. While I wasn't terribly impressed by "Along for the Ride," I decided to give "Just Listen," a chance because it came so highly recommended.

I enjoyed "Just Listen" much more than the aforementioned novel, and yet I still felt that the book was lacking. Many of the characters fell flat for me and were devoid of anything even remotely resembling a personality. Also a good chunk of the book was told in the past tense, which was frustrating, because while I appreciate the occasional flashback, I wanted to spend more time in the present and less time hashing out what happened before. Too much of the novel is pure narration. I don't want to be told what happened. I want to experience what is happening in the present as it unfolds.

The characters I had the biggest problem with were Annabel and Owen. Owen was supposed to have anger management issues and yet I never got the impression that Owen was someone who struggled with his temper. The one time he did lose his cool, we as readers didn't get to see it. We're just told that he punched someone outside a bar. As for Annabel, her character was a little too weak for my liking. There were times when I wished I could shake her and demand that she defend herself, speak up, do something, anything! So, when she finally evolves and begins to confide in those around her, I was expecting something more groundbreaking and emotional than: she sat Owen down and told him everything. She sat her family down and told them everything. That's it? That's all I get? My favorite letdown, however, was when Annabel had a chance to confront her attacker in court and the author chooses to just skim over it, rather than let the readers experience what it must feel like for Annabel to be in this situation. I mean, come on!

The character I found to be the most fascinating was Whitney, Annabel's sister. I almost felt like the story would have been stronger, as well as had a greater impact on its readers if Whitney was the central character, instead of Annabel. Another character I wanted to learn more about was Sophie. How could the falling out between Annabel and Sophie not been explored further? Sophie finds out that her boyfriend assaulted her formerly best friend and instead of Annabel and Sophie talking it out, Sophie just fades away from the story. Again... What?! This story had so much promise, but I spent too much time scratching my head and not enough time immersed in what I had been given.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment