Thursday, September 5, 2013

ARC Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

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

Description: 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, Leila Sales' THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

My Thoughts: This story is for all the people who didn't or don't fit in at high school. Elise Dembowski knows she isn't cool but during the summer between her freshman and sophomore year she studies up on pop culture and determines to change her life. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out for her and she decides that her best option is to die. Please note that this isn't a spoiler as it happens in Chapter 2. The rest of the book deals with the consequences of that decision.

Elise is unhappy, friendless, and bullied at her high school. She splits her time between her divorced parents. Her dad works in a music store and was part of a band that still plays that had one hit in the 70s. Elise has grown up around music and loves it. Her mom has remarried and she has two more children. Her mom and new husband are political activists. Elise doesn't feel that she can tell either of them how unhappy she is. She takes to going on long walks and listening to her iPod after everyone has gone to sleep. One of her walks takes her by an underground dance club which changes her life.

She meets Vicky and Pippa who accept her. And she meets Char, short for The Charming Man, who is the DJ and who teaches Elise how to DJ too. Elise has found her passion and she continually sneaks out of her mother's house to go to Start and DJ every Thursday night. She begins a relationship with Char but he isn't her boyfriend. They only see each other on Thursdays and she doesn't even know his real name.

Meanwhile, at school, someone has created an online super secret diary that is supposed to be written by Elise which bares her secrets to the world. Everyone is convinced that Elise is actually writing it. Elise doesn't tell her parents about that either but she finds it easier to ignore because the focus of her life is Start and DJing.

This was a great story. Elise was a smart character with talents and gifts that it took her a while to recognize. I didn't find any of the story "laugh out loud" but I did find it to be touching and entertaining. I can't wait to share this one with my students whether of not they are part of the popular crowd. 

Favorite Quote:
I had this feeling suddenly. I get this feeling a lot, but I don't know if there is one word for it. It's not nervous or sad or even lonely. It's all of that, and then a bit more. 

The feeling is 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.
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

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