I am ashamed to say that somewhere along the line I have missed Sarah Dessen. I have heard friends and young adults rave about her books. Every time I have heard them talk about a Sarah Dessen book I have immediately ignored it. Many years ago I took a class on young adult literature. For some reason I always thought that one of the required reading books I read was by her and I didn't enjoy it at all. Going back now to try and figure out which book of hers I read for the class, I am forced to admit that I don't think I ever read a Sarah Dessen book. It has been my loss. Over the weekend I read Just Listen by Dessen. This is not her newest book, but I had received a paperback copy of it recently and during a lull one day at work I picked it up. I now know what others have been raving about. Dessen's book was easy to pick up and hard to put down. Her characters were real, her plot interesting, and her writing engaging.
Annabel is the youngest sister in a family of three girls. As the narrator Annabel introduces us to her middle sister, Whitney, and older sister, Kirsten. All three girls worked as models at some point, something their mother enjoyed doing with them. Whitney has moved back home from New York where she and Kirsten shared an apartment because she has an eating disorder. Annabel feels alone at home where attention is focused on Whitney. At school she is also alone after having a falling out with her best friend, Sophie. Slowly Annabel reveals what happened the night that she and Sophie stopped being friends. Luckily Annabel is not alone. She has discovered a friend in Owen who believes in honesty above all else and helps Annabel see the need to tell the truth.
I have already looked at the list of Dessen's other books and am happy to have tried out one of her books. Teenage girls (and some adults, too) are lucky to have her work to enjoy.