Friday, 21 February 2014

Review- This Song Will Save Your Life (Leila Sales)

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.


My Review

This book is a beautiful coming of age story, but it’s more than that. It’s about discovering who you are or really who you’ve always been, and reaching the point where you’re OK with that. I think that’s something people struggle with no matter what the age.

The story focuses on 16 year old Elise Dembowski, a girl who is unpopular for no specific reason, who during the summer desperately attempted to change herself, in order to fit in, not necessarily with the ‘cool’ kids, but just anywhere. However changing your outward appearance, still means you’re you on the inside, with all the same inhibitions, doubts and uncertainties.

“They will see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, still too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always wrong. Change all you want; you can’t change that”
- Elise, This Song Will Save Your Life

As a kid I was never all that popular, I had a small close-knit group of friends who I am still close with today. But I still yearned for more. I remember re-inventing myself in the holidays, meticulously planning my back to school outfit and painting my nails, all in the hopes that when I went back someone would notice and be like ‘ Wow, she’s really cool. Let’s be friends with her”. But when I look back I realize how ridiculous that was, just because I had nice new clothes and a summer tan, didn’t
change the fact that I was still a shy, anxious kid, who never would have gone out of her way to talk to people. Therefore my hope of making new friends was never really going to become a reality, because what my 10 year old self didn’t realize is that the outward change isn’t important. It’s the growth and self-discovery that occurs on the inside that will ultimately make you happy in the end.

The book has some pretty dark overtones, bullying, suicide, and self mutilation. But the author does a nice job of keeping the book light, and not overwhelming (not that any of the things mentioned should be taken lightly). But the book contrasts its darker side, with themes of friendship, accepting yourself and finding a place where you fit in. As for the main character Elise, I absolutely adored her. Her narration of the story was funny and relatable, and she felt like someone I could have easily known in real life.

“Tonight, the internet seemed filled with versions of me, like a funhouse filled with mirrors. Some of them made me look prettier, and some of them made me look uglier and some of them chopped me right in half, but none of them were right”
- Elise, This Song Will Save Your Life

I feel like no matter who picks up this book, they will find some part of themselves in Elise Dembowski, or at least have felt as she has at some point in their life. At 24, I still have moments where I feel like I struggle to fit in, but as I get older, fitting in seems less and less appealing and overall less important, and I’m learning to accept myself, flaws and all. I would recommend this book all teens, and adults, anyone who has felt like they never fit in, or who are still searching for their place in the world.

Things I loved about the book:

  • The main characters narrative, was so enjoyable. Funny, witty and headstrong.  
  •  There was romance, but it didn't take the main stage, and Elise's problems were not solved by a boy sweeping her off her feet.

My rating: 5/5

1 comment:

  1. This book seems to be a favorite of a lot of bloggers. At least the ones I read! It seems like Elise is really easy to relate to and I think like you said everyone can relate to feeling like they don't fit in somewhere at some point in their lives. It's pretty universal. Great review and super pretty blog... I'm going to go follow you now :)


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