Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit.
All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up.
Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
Have you ever just read a book and wondered if someone got into your brain and put parts of your life down on paper? When I read This Song Will Save Your Life, that’s exactly what I was thinking. This is one of those books that will crawl under your skin and stay there forever, keeping its mark. After one day of reading this, I have been contemplating about this book non-stop.
“People are who they are and, try as you might, you cannot make them be what you want them to be.”
Elise Dembowski has never fit in. Outcast, social pariah, outsider, complete odd one out. When she moved to a new school, she thought she could reinvent herself; make herself pretty and a popular girl–she was wrong. And she doesn’t understand why. So she does the next most reasonable step–she gets out her father’s razor blade and plans to kill herself. Only, she doesn’t go through with it. You may think Elise is weak. She is not, she’s been fighting with personalities she’s never understood, ones that she never really accepted into her life like everyone else when everyone reached high school. Elise is a strong, vehement character that I could relate to so well, I wondered if we shared the same brain. We have similar thoughts, especially about everyone else at school. Everyone seemed to move on apart from her. Elise scared me too, she did some gutsy things that made me freak out about and worry for her. I guess that’s just one more reason of how much I could relate to her. Elise’s charisma was flawlessly authentic, and powerful. A part of Elise Dembowski now lives in me.
I don’t like clichés. I’ve established that thousands of times however like in Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers; I realised that clichés are actually passable–even good if they are written with a realistic vibe. So when Leila Sales dragged in a sack of high-school clichés, I only loved this book more and more. This depiction of high school from a victim’s point of view made me frustrated and sorry for Elise. Truth be told, high school is cliché. It depends on how the author chooses to write it determines whether it’s enjoyable or not. As for the supporting characters, I was also quite in love. Elise is a social pariah so when she made friends with some people at a night club, it was reluctant and shaky but all the same wonderful to see develop. Vicky is our reasonable and spunky girl who plays in a band, Pippa a carefree wild girl and Char, a professional DJ. All these characters were three dimensional, they don’t know about Elise’s harsh past which makes their connections plenty times stronger. Because quite straight-forwardly, they don’t condesend to try to be soft on Elise, just because you have friends does not mean all your problems at school will just go away. Same goes for the romance, boyfriends can’t make everything better.
I loved the messages sent throughout this novel. Elise has to find out for herself who her true identity is and strength and persistence pulled her through that. This novel is three things; bold, beautiful and genuine. And much more of course, but these three things are what I think describe this book best. This is a finding yourself, losing yourself novel. This is a lust or love novel. This is a reality against illusion novel. This book is so many things and the way Leila Sales bound it all into just under 300 pages amazes me.
This book is not pretty, this book is the nasty and truthful depiction of high school. This book is also beautiful, in its themes conveyed and writing, which was so raw. A book with friendship, family, love and music, This Song Will Save Your Life is a book every reader needs to have read.
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