Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Published: September 17, 2013
Hardcover, 288 pages
5 Gold Stars

(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.

Elise Dembowski has an unfortunate life. At a young age, all her friends decided she wasn't worthy of their attention and ever since then she's been on her own. Divorced parents and a life filled with the ins and outs of high school, Elise is simply waiting for something better, she just doesn't know what that is. A random walk one night brings her to a warehouse club and a couple of girls allow her into their inner circle so easily, she can't believe it. Inside, she's with the cool kids and they're friends with the DJ, Char, a guy who quickly lets Elise in and allows her to man the DJ booth for him. She falls in love with the idea of DJing and convinces her dad to buy her equipment, ready to start a new life with this new passion.

I loved Elise right away. Not because I could relate to her troubles, as everyone I've ever met has had at least one friend but poor Elise had absolutely none, but because she was a refreshing character. She spoke like a real teenager and obsessed over projects like real people would. I love that if she put her mind to something, she'd see it through, even if it didn't get her what she wanted in the end. She tries to become who she thinks her peers want her to be, but when that doesn't work, she realizes she can only be herself. When she discovers the club, at first she feels like an outsider, but as soon as she gets behind the DJ booth, she's home. Vicky is a great secondary character. She's full of life and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. She easily becomes friends with Elise, treating her like a normal person, something that Elise has never experienced. Pippa isn't as friendly, but she has her own issues she's dealing with. And Char, who is mysterious and helpful, letting Elisa learn how to DJ with him, seems like the perfect guy. Elise falls for him quickly, but DJing is more important to her. 

This book had everything you want from a YA novel. Teen angst, a feeling of not belonging, finding something you love to do and being able to do it. Elise feels like herself when she's got her headphones on and is in charge of the music. She feels the dance floor, sensing what they want to hear next. Her family and school life exist only when they have to, but it's Thursday nights at the club that make her feel alive. Love, heartbreak and figuring out who you really are all play a big part in this book and it plays out perefctly. Sales captures the feelings of a teenage girl lost in the world who finds herself in music like most of us do. This was a quick, fun read and the soundtrack was exceptional and played just as much a part as any of the characters. If you're a fan of music, new and old and everything in between, and what can happen if you hear the right song at the right time and the feelings that come with that, than this is the book for you. 

“You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not. True, things don't stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions-- but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn't that - just you - enough.”

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