Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Review: This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your LifeAuthor: Leila Sales
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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.

Here we are now. Here we are, the first Thursday evening in April, a full seven months after I slit my wrist and then called Amelia Kindl to tell her all about it. The sun has gone down, and it’s dinnertime in the Myers household.

People also like you more when you ask questions about them, by the way. They like it when you smile, and when you ask them to talk about themselves.

Does this sound ridiculous and dramatic, to decide in the middle of a totally average school day that this has gone on for long enough? Was I overeating? Well, I’m sorry, but that is what I decided. You can’t tell me my feelings are overwrought or absurd. You don’t know. They are my feelings.

That’s what I discovered about myself on the first day of my sophomore year of high school: I didn’t really want to die. I never had. All I ever wanted was attention.

Being a high school English teacher, I must say that I am realizing how frequent bullying really does happen and I feel that it only gets worse and worse. In high school I was never bullied, so reading Elise’s story was a huge wake up call for me. I never had her experience in high school, and honestly it is heart-wrenching. The first few chapters of this book are completely raw, emotional, and honest. Elise tries so hard to fit in and just ends up standing out and being labeled as an outsider. She has low self-esteem and her unspoken thoughts are enough to make anyone shed a tear. I want to tell you all now that this book is maybe not what you would expect YA to be, but it is a new perspective from a character who young readers can admire and learn from.

Elise’s passion is music and when she finally finds a place to fit it, DJing, I could not have been more happy for her. I can relate to Elise in the fact that music was her escape and it kept her sane. Music made up a huge part of this book, and I enjoyed the scenes when Elise was DJing the most. Sales puts off such an energy through Elise as you are reading that you might even find you want to give DJing a try too! Elise finally comes out of her shell and her experience feels all the more real to readers because of the feeling and emotions she uses to express her new, thrilling experience.

The theme that I found most inspiring in this book was acceptance. Elise was finally able to see others accepting her, she started to appreciate her own self-worth, and finally she was able to start accepting herself. My philosophy has always been that you must love yourself first before anyone else can love you! No matter what your experience was in high school, I think everyone can relate to Elise and this book in some way. Everyone has felt different at some point in your life. I had hobbies in school that I thought were geeky or nerdy and I didn’t want to share them with my friends, thinking they might see me as weird. So in that aspect I could relate.

It’s a powerful story with a strong leading character!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. This Song will Save you Life looks really good. I haven't read many boks with bullying in them and it is a very sensitive topic which should be well handles. Glad to see the main character is so strong. Thanks for your review! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts