This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Release Date: September 17, 2013
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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.
I absolutely loved this book. Right from the start there was something special about it. The first few chapters showed you how lonely and desperate Elise is for any kind of friendship. After yet another horrible day she decides to do the unthinkable....kill herself.
Elise's character was completely relatable. I wasn't the coolest kid growing up. I was socially awkward and never knew what to do or say. Luckily I did have some great friends. Elise however did not even have one friend. I can't even imagine what this would have been like. She eventually makes friends with Sally and Chava, but they weren't close or true friends in Elise's mind. They were just there. More friends of convenience than anything else.
When she stumbles upon Start she flees because why would Vicky and Pippa want to be friends with her? She was a nobody in her mind.
I don't belong here. I don't know how I got here, and I don't know how long I can stay before everyone else realizes that I am an impostor. I am a fraud.
Elise's relationship with Vicky blossoms into a true friendship. She finally found people who didn't see her as a weirdo or loser. But when she meets Char I just wanted to scream "YOU CAN DO BETTER!" Char was nothing but a douchebag, and when she finally gets a chance to do what she loves he is bitter and angry at her. The whole time she is becoming friends with Vicky and Char she still doesn't believe that they really want to be her friend. That it must be some kind of mistake. Elise cannot fathom why these people would want to be friends with her and she is constantly wanting for that other shoe to drop.
But I also felt like an eggshell that had gotten a tiny crack. You can't repair something like that. All you can do is hope that it sticks together, hope that the crack doesn't grow until all your insides come spilling right out.
I can see how some people found Elise to be pretentious, but I didn't see it. I saw a withdrawn and isolated young girl who was too smart for her own good. She thought the more extraordinary she was the more her classmates would like her. Only to find out that her being extraordinary was pushing them away. What Elise wanted more than anything was to fit in. To be accepted, acknowledged, not ignored or bullied. She tried to change herself. She spent a whole summer studying on what's cool and what the popular kids would talk about only to not even have the opportunity to try. This is what broke her. It wasn't that she had a monumental bad day, but it was just another crappy day after a crappy day.
Leila Sales wrote an extraordinary novel about growing up and learning to find that one thing you are truly good at. The scenes where Elise was DJing were the best. You could feel how much she loved it. She lived and breathed it.