It’s no secret that I adore Sarah Dessen and all of her novels. I talk about them a lot here on my blog and on twitter. In my job as a middle school librarian I recommend her books weekly, if not daily. I re-read all of her books (for the third or fourth time at least!) back in 2015 in anticipation of Saint Anything being released. Basically, I am a complete Sarah Dessen fangirl! Of course I had to participate in the #ReadADessen campaign.
Each week two of Sarah’s novels will be featured in posts by groups of bloggers. It’s week four of the campaign so one group this week is talking about Just Listen and another is focusing on Lock and Key. As you could probably tell by the title of this blog post, I’m in the Just Listen group. (And if you think it wasn’t nearly impossible to select which two or three Dessen books were my favorite you would be way wrong! I love them all so much!!!)
Here’s more about one of my top three Sarah Dessen novels:
Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.
This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.
Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
I have so much love for this book. I’m not even sure what makes it stand out to me from her other books but it just does! I love the characters and the way Owen and Annabel get to know one another. Plus, the music aspect! If I had more musical knowledge I would totally make a spotify list for this book. Alas, I wouldn’t even know where to begin!
I reviewed this one here on this blog in May of 2011… six years ago! You can read my review here. It’s kind of embarrassing… basically just me fangirling all over the place! In 2015 I posted my list of the top five reasons you should read Just Listen for the “Summer of Sarah Dessen.” I totally stand by those reasons!
This brings me to the most popular posts on my blog. It’s another Sarah Dessen relate post from 2011 and it’s about the connections between Sarah’s books (the number one search term that brings people to this blog is Sarah Dessen connections!) In my post The World of Sarah Dessen I created graphics with as many of the connections as I could find. I still get comments from people who have posted other ones I missed! I updated this list in my 2015 Sarah Dessen Connections post. For today, here are all the connections I found for Just Listen:
People/things from other books mentioned in Just Listen:
- Annabel models for Lakeview Models from That Summer.
- Annabel and Owen go to Bendo from This Lullaby. There the see Remy,Dexter, and the rest of Truth Squad.
- The Potato Opus and the phrase Hate Spinnerbait from This Lullaby are mentioned.
- Owen listens to Truth Squad (from This Lullaby) and has their CD in the back of his car. Annabel’s friend Clarke Reynolds wears a Truth Squad shirt.
- Owen and Annabel go to World of Waffles from This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever. There they see Wes and Macy from The Truth About Forever.
- Boo Connell from Dreamland (Caitlin’s neighbor) is mentioned by Owen’s Mom.
- Annabel and Owen go to Jackson High (like Caitlin from Dreamland and Macy from The Truth About Forever.)
- Will Cash attends Perkins Day School like Rogerson from Dreamland.
- Whitney reads her poem at Jump Java. This is where Scarlett (originally fromSomeone Like You) and John Miller work from This Lullaby.
Mentions of people/things from Just Listen in other books:
Lock and Key:
- Ruby attended Jackson High like Caitlin from Dreamland, Macy from The Truth About Forever, and Annabel from Just Listen.
- Nate listens to Annabel from Just Listen on community radio.
- Jamie gets help putting a mixed CD together for Cora from Owen from Just Listen.
- Mallory (Owen’s little sister from Just Listen) are likely the girls who shop for KeyChains at Harriet’s.
- Harriet buys her coffee at Jump Java. This is where Scarlett (originally fromSomeone Like You) and John Miller work from This Lullaby. Whitney from Just Listen reads her poem there.
Along For the Ride:
Auden briefly attended Jackson High like Caitlin from Dreamland, Macy fromThe Truth About Forever, Annabel and Owen from Just Listen, and Ruby fromLock and Key.
Auden transfers to Perkins Day like Rogerson from Dreamland, Will Cash fromJust Listen, and Ruby from Lock and Key.
What Happened to Goodbye:
Mclean attends Jackson High like Caitlin from Dreamland, Macy from The Truth About Forever, Annabel and Owen from Just Listen, Ruby from Lock and Key, and Auden from Along for the Ride.
The Fountain School that Rolly attends in Just Listen is mentioned.
At lunch on the first day of school Mclean sits on the wall just down from Owen and Annabel from Just Listen.
There is a coupon from Java Jump in the welcome bag. This is where Harriet buys her coffee in Lock and Key. Scarlett (originally from Someone Like You) and John Miller work there in This Lullaby. Whitney from Just Listen reads her poem there.
Sydney originally attends Perkins Day like Rogerson from Dreamland, Will Cash from Just Listen, and Ruby from Lock and Key and Auden from Along for the Ride.
Sydney transfers to Jackson High like Caitlin from Dreamland, Macy from The Truth About Forever, Annabel and Owen from Just Listen, Ruby from Lock and Key, and Auden from Along for the Ride and Mclean from What Happened to Goodbye.
Mac (I think?) has an Anger Management t-shirt. This is Owen’s community radio show in Just Listen.