Review – This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

March 4, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Author: Leila Sales
Release Date: September, 2013
Pages: 279
Goodreads Rating: 4.06 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: Mature YA (Themes of suicide and bullying; sex, though not explicit)

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

 

This is the type of book that will stick with you.  The type that you’ll sit and think about for a long time after you read it.  At least I did.  The book deals with suicide and what drives someone to think that life is no longer worth living – or to at least want to cry out for help.  It really brought me back to that time in my teenage years when every feeling was amplified and every life experience and decision seemed SO incredibly important.  When things were bad, it sometimes seemed hard to believe that they would ever get better.  This book is that feeling taken to its extreme.The synopsis describes the book pretty well, so I’m just skipping to my review.

The negatives:
  • Elise isn’t always likable.  This book is about a girl who pretty much hates herself and most of the people around her most of the time. Her inner dialogue isn’t always pleasant and she sometimes overreacts to things (the way that teenagers do – especially teenagers who are already feeling pretty bleak about their lives).  Sometimes she seems to unfairly dislike people and treat them poorly.  But, the thing is, it’s all part of her journey of self-discovery and character growth. Did I always agree with Elise’s choices or enjoy her self-deprecation.  No, but it all makes sense based on her character and her experiences in life.  It’s bleak – that’s all there is to it.
What I LOVED:
  • Real.  I can really sum up why I loved this book in one point. The thing that I loved most about this book is that it felt real. Elise could be an actual girl at a high school around the corner.  That girl who everyone overlooks and sometimes bullies – not horribly or traumatically necessarily, but enough.  Enough to make her feel invisible.  The interesting thing about this book is that Elise is never looking for popularity.  She just wants to believe that someone sees her.  At the same time, she actually holds herself back from being seen in so many ways.  When she has a chance for friendship, she almost passes it by – without even really realizing what she’s doing – because it’s easier to blame the world for her sadness and to see herself as broken or wrong than it is to try and actually sort things out.  This isn’t a story of a geeky girl who becomes amazingly popular with a makeover.  It’s much more complex than that and doesn’t just lead to an easy happily ever after.  And that’s why I loved it.
  • Vicky. Okay, I said I could sum the book up in one point, but I’m going to add another positive to go with it.  I absolutely loved the character of Vicky – she was exactly what Elise needed.  Kind of a ray of sunshine in a really bleak world.  That’s not to say that Vicky was happy-go-lucky or a silly, frivolous character.  Instead, she’s a positive force in Elise’s life and she brings much needed joy to the book!
This is not a light read, but it is a meaningful read. This Song Will Save Your Life is the type of book that, I believe, will really resonate with teens – especially with anyone who’s ever felt out of place, alone or depressed.  Highly recommended. 4.5/5 Stars

 

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