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BOOK REVIEW: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

BOOK REVIEW: Just Listen by Sarah DessenJust Listen by Sarah Dessen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

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.

*New Mommy Review #1* (Meaning: Not great, but at least I’m getting some thoughts out there…)

In all honesty, this book started out so great. I was comparing to one of my all time favorites, Some Girls Are, almost immediately. But where SGA got more intense as it went along, JL fell apart, for me, as it continued.

I lost interest in our main character, was beyond annoyed at her childish reasoning for each situation where she simply only had to say ‘just give me a minute’, and, ultimately, I just got bored. I loved Owen, but even he wasn’t enough to save this boring and anti-climactic story. Hell, I couldn’t even put him in my unforgettable male leads shelf because he was in it so little. Sigh.

Frankly, the same thing happened with her other book I read-it was going so well and then the author just veers the story completely away from what I would have done and, frankly, it’s obviously a case of ‘this author just isn’t for me’.

Pretty writing, albeit a bit stale, and fleshed out characters you want to know more about…I just couldn’t love this story. When things finally started to get interesting she ran away. And, hey, just not enough Owen (IE not for me).

Oh well. Better luck next time…though, it probably won’t be a book by this author.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

BOOK REVIEW: The Truth About Forever by Sarah DessenThe Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.

Is it really always better to be safe than sorry?

I’d tried to hold myself apart, showing only what I wanted, doling out bits and pieces of who I was. But that only works for so long. Eventually, even the smallest fragments can’t help but make a whole.

Now that I finally have some time to put together a little bit of a coherent review, I’m excited to give a little more explanation to my thoughts. I’ve been seeing this author on the shelves of every big bookstore for years and never gave her a second look. And while I think that there was something missing that made this an absolute perfect and epic win for me, it also touched me in a way not many books do…and I think that deserves to be said.

Maybe that’s what you got when you stood over your grief, facing it finally. A sense of its depths, its area, the distance across, and the way over or around it, whichever you chose in the end.

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In many ways, this author’s writing reminded me of Heather Demetrios’s I’ll Meet You There. This was an absolute favorite for me last year and an absolute shock. It wasn’t particularly fast paced nor was it action packed. But every word, every page, every moment implanted itself into my heart and stole my breath. As the book progressed it was built up in such a way that didn’t bore you, yet you just NEEDED something to happen….this book was a lot like that. However, it lacked all those intense, tugging emotions that made IMUT an emotionally packed gut punch.

Leaning out my window, at the odd angle I was, I found myself almost level with the top of his head. A second later, when he looked up at me, we were face to face, and again, even under these circumstances, I was struck by how good looking he was, in that accidental, doesn’t-even-know-it kind of way. Which only made it worse. Or better. Or whatever.

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When what I wanted to happen happened, it certainly made me a total fangirl, but by then I had invested a ton of time and wanted a little more. Does that make sense? I appreciated and loved the slow, syrupy feel of Dessen’s world and her writing, but it lacked one key emotion to make me a forever fan: Obsession.

The silence wasn’t like the ones I’d known lately, though: it wasn’t empty as much as chosen. There’s an entirely different feel to quiet when you’re with someone else, and at any moment it could be broken. Like the difference between a pause and an ending.

Probably my other large gripe was our main character’s mother. Come on. Grief does absolutely horrible, dreadful, unspeakable things to a person, but I don’t think when your daughter is sitting there telling you how much she likes people and how good they are that her kinds of reactions were necessary. A little naivety? Sure. Blase tone? Okay. But that utter disregard for her daughter’s feelings? It bothered me far more than I’m even letting on now.

“What were you two talking about?” she whispered as Wes pulled the doors shut.
“Nothing,” I said. “Running.”
“You should have seen your face,” she said, her breath hot in my ear. “Sa-wooooon.”

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And then there was Wes…sweet, adorable, loyal Wes. Always there for her, always making her see herself the way she deserves to be seen. And I think that’s my favorite part about Wes-He doesn’t belittle her. He always makes her search deep within herself for what makes her happy and not other people. And he never makes her feel small. He is just one of those perfect guys and you can’t help but to love him from the moment you meet him-no matter how small his part is, at first.

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Events conspired to bring you back to where you’d been. It was what you did then that made all the difference: it was all about potential.

Now, I know I didn’t say much, but I just had to say more than what I did below. This book, while not a heart-stopping and pulse-pounding thriller by any means, is a great coming of age story. And hell, I’m 26 years old and I found some value in the deep, heartfelt words this author wrote through the eyes and mind of Macy. We all can stand to learn something about ourselves and become introspective even if just for a moment. As it is, this book, while not an absolute favorite, came at a time where I looked deep within myself and saw a little of Macy. I don’t want to live a life where I’m living for others and not myself…and I’m glad I can still relate to books like this. What better way to get impartial advice than reading a wonderful book? There is no better way.

********

This was absolutely adorable! Extremely well-written and a lot deeper than I really thought it would be (I was shocked).

It wasn’t until I really got where I wanted to be in terms of the story that I realized I had been holding my breath in anticipation…and that’s a good sign, to me.

A tad slow in places, but building up to something deep, meaningful, and heartfelt. I need more books like this in my life-It’s the same description I’ve used for other books, but I’ll say it again: It was like sitting on the front porch on a hot summer day sipping lemonade with a light breeze. It was just that kind of book.

And this Wes??Such a totally believable good guy who wasn’t over the top perfect that I couldn’t help but wish I had met him first. Sweet, kind, attentive, and only wants what is best for Macy. I fell in love with him slowly..then all at once (hehe bad-stealing lines from other books..).

RTC, maybe. Depends how my weekend goes! 😛

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