Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publication: September 17, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Format, pages: e-Galley, 278
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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.
Leila Sales’s This Song Will Save Your Life is a sure-hit when it’s release comes in September. By the time I finally read my copy, everybody was buzzing about this, after praises of how realistic it was to people who had gone through situations like Elise. The synopsis itself doesn’t quite hint at how dark this book is at first. The mood is very bleak, depressing, and being in Elise’s head is a very saddening – yet connective – time for the reader. I might be pushing it by saying this, but I believe how well you connect to Elise at first may be a deciding factor in how well you enjoy this novel.
Sales has written a glowing cast of characters; from the enigmatic Char to socially clueless but smart and persistent Elise, as well as party-girl Pippa, and rocker Vicky. Every one of these characters is more than what you first see when they enter the novel, especially Char. The route that Sales begins writing his relationship with Elise may seem formulatic and cliche for the YA genre, but what she does at the end of this novel is completely brilliant, and also saddening by how realistic it is. Sometimes, the people who appear to have the most mystery, could possibly be just because we build up people in our mind to be more than what they truly are.
The writing is beautiful but not in a flashy way. It’s beautiful in a way for just containing a simple beauty to it about every day things. Even the big revelations like the one at the beginning of this review are written beautifully without needing a page-long tangent.
The incorporation of music into the plot will definitely resonate deeply to people whose lives are dedicated to it, as I know several of my real-life friends are. That isn’t to say that only music-lovers will connect. This is a book for music-lovers, people who are or have been bullied, rejected, don’t feel like they fit in, depressed, and all those trying times people have as teenagers and at any point in our lives.
So yes, when September 17th comes rolling around, I myself will definitely be making sure to pick up a copy of this beautifully written, complex, and real novel. And I think you should too.
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