Sunday, July 08, 2007

So, my teen reading continues in full force. Here are a couple I read a while ago and pleasantly surprised me.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

This is my first Dessen novel and she has written a ton. Just Listen is about Annabel, who is popular at school and is a promising model as well. Modeling has lost its appeal to Annabel, her sisters' problems are completely ignored by her parents and an incident involving her former best-friend’s boyfriend has ruined her popularity at school. Now an outsider, she begins to notice the allegedly dangerous and brooding Owen. While this is quite similar to Speak and Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, Dessen does a great job rounding out her main characters and this makes their connection seem realistic. Yes it is a bit mushy, but the author shows us Annabel’s transformation from someone who was taught to ignore the problems around her to someone who will be sensitive to life and bold enough to force change.

The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hyde has also written a ton of books including 2000’s Pay It Forward. This book follows 13-year old Cynnie, who begins to fall into the same habits as her mother. She becomes an alcoholic and is involved in a couple of bad relationships, though caring for her younger brother who has Down Syndrome spurs her to recover. Unfortunately some of the book seems incredibly realistic, while some of it does not seem real at all. Still, Cynnie is a great character to root for and her horrible home life makes for a gripping read.

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