Young Adult – Just Listen

Watching a commercial she had filmed the previous spring, Annabel can’t help but feel that the girl on the screen is a totally different person from who she is now. It seems that everything has changed. Her former best friend hates her, and has alienated the rest of the school. Annabel knows that she’s being accused of something that happened very differently from what it appears, but she doesn’t know what to do about it. In the meantime, her family is still reeling and uncertain after her older sister is forced to move back into the house because of her eating disorder. Annabel is at her wit’s end. She’s surprised to find an ally in Owen, the official Angriest Person in the school. Owen’s obsessed with music, and convinced Annabel should be too. He’s also incredibly truthful about everything and anything, a scary prospect for the more conciliatory Annabel, who has secrets she’d rather not share.

The characters are well drawn and true to life, though Owen’s behavior is largely more patient and forgiving than his reputation and past behaviors would lead us to believe. Annabel’s family is particularly well done, showing the devastating effects her sister’s eating disorder has had on the entire family. Although Annabel’s secret will probably come as no surprise (I suspected just reading the bookflap) her own internal workings as she grapples with who to tell what and when are realistic and moving.

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