Author: Leila Sales
Publication Date: September 17th 2013
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s easy, but it’s not. What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? Do you change your clothes, your hair, your face? Go on, then. Do it. Pierce your ears, trim your bangs, buy a new purse. They will still see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always, wrong. Change all you want; you can’t change that.”
A few weeks ago, I was starting to feel myself falling deep down into a reading slump. It was one of those slumps where you really want to read, but no matter what book you put in front of your eyes, you can’t get past the first chapter.
And dude, that sucks.
So, I did what I usually do.
You see, when I’m in a reading slump, I like reading contemporary standalones (that’s my #1 tip, guys). They’re quick, most of the time pretty easy on the mind (unlike heavy high fantasy with one million new things to keep track on, for example), and there’s not much commitment in reading them. You pick it up, read it, maybe cry a bit, and then you put it down and move on with your life. Awesome!
Anyway, This Song Will Save Your Life had all those qualites….aaand the lovely additional trait of being a, at least according to me, page turner. Namely, it had pretty fast pace, short chapters (and those sure are dangerous in the middle of the night when you’re “only going to read one more chapter”. Yeah right), and an interesting enough story to keep my attention.
Yep, this book pretty much stole two nights from me.
But no, fast pace is not all it takes for me to love a book, and I actually did love this one.
So what was it that gave me those warm and fuzzy feelings, then?
Well, mostly it was the story and the writing itself. It was so, so beautiful, and those first chapters (+ pretty much rest of the book), really hit me hard. This whole book made me feel incredibly sad, and not sad in a “I want to cry my eyes out”-way. More like “our society sucks sometimes”-sad. That people feel like they can’t be different, that they need to change…it makes me super angry. And these things happen all over the world, all the time.
Which brings me to my second reason why this book is amazing. Since it is about such a recurring problem, I think it will be able to speak to lot of people — maybe even give them some comfort. And not only when it comes to not being able to be your awesome self, but other things to do with identity and life as well. I have never been in the exact same situation as Elise, but I could still relate to a lot of the things she was thinking and feeling. I’m not that good at getting to know new people, for example, and I never quite know what to say, how to say it, or when to say it. Every time I find myself in a crowd of new people, I want to be interesting. I want to be witty, funny, and confident. I just don’t know how. Everything ends up feeling wrong and awkward.
Then we have the characters, which I did like very much. They were interesting, and most of them felt realistic, so points for that. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t say that I particularly liked Elise 100 % of the time, and I didn’t approve of all of her actions, but that didn’t really matter. I still understood why she did the things she did, and I still rooted for her. I could feel for her, and that, my friends, is one of the most important things. At least in my opinion.
In conclusion, This Song Will Save Your Life was pretty much exactly what I needed at the time being. It is addicting, beautiful, sad, and even a bit funny from time to time. It deals with a lot of important issues, like self-harm and bullying, and I think it portrayed them very well. Sure, I found it pretty easy to figure out how it would end, and it got a little bit too peachy at one point, but that didn’t really matter. Overall it was an amazing book, that I 100 % recommend to anyone who wants to read a more serious contemporary novel, with a tinge of humour and a lot of character development.
“That’s the problem with life. You never get enough time to stare at your ceiling and try to figure out what’s going on.”
“Sometimes you just have those days where everything goes wrong, But sometimes, an totally unexpectedly, something can go right.”