5 Song Reactions To Just Listen By Sarah Dessen Plus Mini Review

Friday, February 19, 2016

Paper Bindings - 5 Song Reactions To Just Listen By Sarah Dessen Plus Mini Review

TITLE: Just Listen
AUTHOR: Sarah Dessen
RELEASE DATE: April 6th 2006
PUBLISHER: Viking Books for Young Readers - Penguin
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“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.”

Since music plays a big role in Just Listen, I thought it would be fun to incorporate it into my review. 

In the book music brings the two main characters, Owen and Annabel, together. It's also a coping mechanism they have for dealing with the stresses of life. 

And I can relate to that. 

I have a "Life Sucks" playlist on my iPod (yes, I really call it that) that I bust out whenever I've had an extremely hard day. Not because I want to have an emo phase and crawl under the covers to hide, although sometimes that is true, but because the bad vibes get swept away as each song plays. 

So I guess you could say music is big in my life.

Five Songs I Couldn't Get Out of My Head While Reading This Book:

(01) Monster by Skillet

The secret side of me, I never let you see
I keep it caged but I can't control it
So stay away from me, the beast is ugly
I feel the rage and I just can't hold it

It's scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls
It comes awake and I can't control it
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head
Why won't somebody come and save me from this, make it end?

I feel it deep within, it's just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster
I hate what I've become, the nightmare's just begun
I must confess that I feel like a monster

If Annabel's internal struggles were personified into a song, I fully believe it would be Monster.

Right from the start, we know she has this big secret that is hurting her. It doesn't take much guessing to put the clues together. But as time grows, more and more gets added on until she reaches a point where she can bend and break or stop and heal.

(02) Hero by Skillet

It's just another war
Just another family torn
(Falling from my faith today)
Just a step from the edge

Just another day in the world we live
I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero (save me now)
I need a hero to save my life
A hero'll save me (just in time)

I've gotta fight today
To live another day
Speakin' my mind today
(My voice will be heard today)

Ultimately, for any dramatic or emotional issue, I think only the person involved can save themselves. But sometimes people can't see the problem for what it is or just don't know how to fix themselves without outside help.

This song applies to several people within this book (both the person needing help and the hero) but to me, this song definitely goes out to Annabel and Owen.

(03) Cant' Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis

Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand,
Take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you

Annabel and Owen, do I need to say more?

(04) It's The Fear by Within Temptation

I fear who I am becoming
I feel that I am losing the struggle within
I can no longer restrain it
My strength, it is fading
I have to give in

It's the fear
Fear of the dark
It's growing inside of me
That one day will come to life

Who doesn't this song apply to in Just Listen?

(05) Brave by Josh Grobin

Hold on, hold on so strong, time just carries on
All that you thought was wrong is pure again
You can't hide forever from the thunder
Look into the storm and feel the rain

You wanna run away, run away
And you say that it can't be so
You wanna look away, look away
But you stay 'cause it's all so close
When you stand up and hold out your hand
In the face what I don't understand
My reason to be brave

Again, who doesn't this song apply too?

My Thoughts

I picked up Just Listen from the library because of an impromptu buddy read with some friends on Twitter.

As you may have guessed, or heard me comment before, I am super hard on contemporary novels. I have zero patience for their mistakes (the characters) and I read to escape, so I don't want to hear about real life struggles. Bring on the dragons and thieves.

Despite my initial disinterest, I instantly connected with Annabel. She was just a wonderfully complex character, and the way she dealt with everything that was going on in her life was just personal to me. I could so see myself behaving very similar to her if put into certain situations.

Owen was a fantastic love interest, and not just because he caught her (and my) attention with his first knowing look. (He SAW her.) Of course there were some swoonworthy moments, and I certainly shipped the two of them together from very early on. But I think what made him so spectacular was he didn't just occupy the "lover" role, he also was genuinely a true friend when she needed one more than anything else in her life.

Just Listen is one of those stories that stick with you. I can see myself rereading this book years down the line and still retaining that initial connection to the characters and plot.

Quotations That Have Stuck With Me

"And while it is hard enough to take away something that makes a person happy, it’s even more difficult when it seems like it’s the only thing."

"There was something so heavy about the burden of history, of the past. I wasn't sure I had it in me to keep looking back."

"As long as I had something to listen to, I could blur the things I didn't want to think about, if not block them out completely."


  1. I love love love this book so much. One of my favorite Dessen novels. I love that you included your own playlist. I Can't Help Falling in Love With You is an excellent choice. I'm glad that this book made it past your contemporary wall (does that make sense? I'm just glad you liked it)! Great review!

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    1. I almost wanted to reread this book immediately upon finishing since it just resonated with me so well. I plan to read more of her books, but I think this one might always have a special place in my heart. Thank you, I'm glad someone liked the idea. I was so nervous when posting it.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. I remember reading this one a long time ago and I really liked it! Great review!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. Thank you. Have you read any of her other books?

      Thank you for stopping by.

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I love how you reviewed with music- you really stayed true to the book! :)
    Plus those quotes are fantastic!

    1. As soon as they started talking about music, I knew there was no other way to review this book.

      Thank you for stopping by.


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