Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review - This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

   This Song Will Save Your Life

Genre: Contemporary 
Published: Sep. 2013
Hardcover: 279 pgs. 

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.

**I also want to mention this book does cover topics that can be difficult for some; bullying, depression, attempted suicide and self-harm. Even though these topics are heavy, the author does an amazing job of making this book a very light-hearted and inspiring read.

Honestly, I don't read contemporary that often. It just isn't my favorite genre and it takes a really good synopsis (or a good cover) to really pull me in. This Song Will Save Your Life had both of those. Seriously, the cover is gorgeous right? I picked this up on my latest trip to the library. I had heard of it, but not a lot about it.

This turned out to be a very touching and down-to-earth story about Elsie who, like a lot of people, isn't one of the cool kids at her high school and has trouble fitting in with the popular people at school. Through a series of circumstances she finds and underground club, Start, and while there finds friendship, a little romance and she is a pretty good DJ!

First of all, this is one of the best contemporary books I've read in ages! There are so many good components to this book that make it really fantastic. Elsie is easily my favorite part of this book because I loved her voice within this book. I think it would have been easy to write this story where you would feel sympathy but not empathy. Instead Elsie an inspiring example of how to become comfortable with being different. Her character growth is outstanding and so much fun to read. I love her journey throughout this book. I was instantly hooked by the writing style because of the great narration and quote worthy passages. She is easy to relate to and I could see and hear some of my own bad high school moments by reading her story. I was never in a situation as extreme as Elsie's, but I can understand her. I had similar experiences, worries, problems and troubles when I was in school.

The music element in this book is also fantastic. Sales uses the music in such an effective way. For me, personally, I thought the author used a great mix of music from different genres. I didn't know everything, but I knew enough for the story to make sense. The author also included lyrics when you really need to understand why that song was important which was very helpful.

Something else that made me love this book was the pacing. I liked how slowly and completely Elsie's life spun out of her control. It seems like even before the story starts Elsie is slightly out of control (aren't we all). Though she thinks things are getting better, you, as the reader can start to realize what is and isn't working over the course of days and months. The slow spiral made sense and it worked really well for the overall feel of the book. It kept me interested and engaged in the story.

Overall, I just cannot say enough good things about this book. It is one of the best contemporary books I've ever read and I just love it. I will be looking into if Leila Sales has written anything else. This book has also kicked off a major reading run for me which I really needed. I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys music, coming of age and self-discovery.

Rating: 5/5 

And now I leave you with just a couple of good quotes from Elsie, to give you a sense of that amazing voice I mentioned, and because a lot of this book is so quoteable.

“Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don't know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn't you. That isn't you at all.”

“But you know better than anyone how the Internet sees everything and nothing, all at the same time.”

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