iReview | Edition 7

Aug 21, 2010 in

Just Listen - Sarah Dessen

It begins with a less than dramatic opening, soon leading you deeper, into the pit of Annabel’s problems. With a mother fresh out of depression, and two sisters who are polar opposites, her family is far from perfect. To top this all off, her best friend, Sophie, hates her, and no one else is talking to her, either. The reason for this isn’t revealed until later, but I’ll tell you in advance that Sophie caught Annabel doing something at a party... something that’s scarred Annabel for life. When the resident bad-boy starts talking to her, she takes to him, seeing as he’s the first person all summer - and term - to not throw hostile words at her. Owen’s taste of music is something that they don’t have is common, but the fighting brings them closer together.

Annabel is a complicated girl. She’s a model, a sister of a girl with an eating disorder, the daughter of a woman who’s only joy is Annabel’s modeling, and she also has a dark secret to top all of this off. Owen is honest. He’s been to jail, and he goes to anger management classes upon court order, but he’s honest. Ask him anything, and he’ll answer straight up. No beating around the bush, no hiding the truth. Together they seem like an unlikely pair, but Owen’s honesty becomes therapeutic to Annabel, and even his screechy techno music provides a source of stability for her.

There is no proper way for me to explain the plot of this story, but the writing is beautiful. While I was skimming through a second time for the purpose of this review, I kept getting sucked right back into the story, even though I told myself I wouldn’t. The character development is great, and nothing seems forced. It’s not exactly a light read, but it’s not too heavy for a casual read, either. Pick it up at your nearest bookstores, because you won’t regret it!

The Pact - Jodi Picoult

Chris Harte and Emily Gold were destined to be together. Their parents were best friends, and so they grew up together, right from the second Emily was born. When they got older, they became a couple, and no one was surprised. They seemed to be a part of each other, each knowing the other better than themselves. But then, Emily is found shot dead, her lifeless body cradled in Chris’ arms, the gun in his hand. With two bullets in the gun, Chris claims it was a suicide pact, but it becomes clear that there’s more to than. Digging deeper, the Golds find signs of depression of the daughter they are now discovering they never really knew.

The reason behind Emily’s depression is uncovered in her diary, but it’s only the beginning of a long search for the truth. Chris is facing a possible life sentence, but even he can’t figure out whether he’s innocent or not. His hand was on the gun, his finger on the trigger, but did he really shoot Emily?

The Pact is a compelling read, and every sentence contains a vital piece of information, so concentrating while reading is really important. Everything in this book is written perfectly, right from how it all began. Emily is crafted to be cheerful on the outside - exactly how a girl who has everything should be - but depressed on the inside. Chris, on the other hand, is 100% devoted to Emily, and is the only one who knows that she’s depressed. When I was reading this for the first time, I read for several hours on end, not being able to think of anything else when I did take a breather. It’s an amazing book, but it’s not your  average light read, so be prepared.