Reader's Choice Review #3: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+
Pages: 288 (ARC)
Source: Bea 2013
Recommended By: Kierra
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is pure perfection. There's no other way to put it. I totally wasn't expecting it to be as powerful as it was, especially when the book is on the shorter side. But, wow, this was absolutely breathtaking. Forgive me if my review isn't comprehensible, but this review isn't easy to write because of the emotions that I felt with this one.

Elise is different. She never really fit in with the kids at her school. This made her an easy target and she was often ostracized and made fun of for nearly everything. She was the unfortunate punch line to every joke simply because she had this social awkwardness that many children develop. She was never given the opportunity to prove herself, but she never stopped trying. When her final attempt at saving herself in high school failed, she goes home and grabs a razor. And while there was pain and blood, she saved herself by calling one of her few classmates with a heart that made sure the police got there in time.

I want to say that I think Sales handled this heavy subject superbly. I hate heavy subjects in books if they're not done well and in a respectful manner. Not only was this respectful, but it took me to the sort of low that made me understand why there is such a huge problem with suicide today. While I had my own issues in high school--really, who doesn't?--I can't relate to this feeling of complete isolation the way that Elise must experience it. I had my friends at school and I tended to prefer books at home and then I had my friends at work.

She didn't have books, but she had music. Unfortunately, she didn't realize music was her equivalent of my books until after her attempted suicide. However, when she discovered her calling the book finally began looking up and I felt my heart flutter with hope. The emphasis that this book put on music was so powerful. It was...amazing. It showed that when people find their passion, nothing can hold them back. And it made me love music even more. Books will always come first for me, though.

Elise's new love of DJing stemmed from her discovery of an underground night club. Her already immense love of music could now be put to use! But, I found that this night club showed her that life is worth living. While her DJ gig made her stand on her own two feet and helped her find something she was good at, giving her something to live for, it's the people in the club that caused her to grow.

These side characters are Mel, Pippa, Char, and Vicky. Vicky and Pippa were the first two people she met and I absolutely adored Vicky. Though slightly heavy, she's got a powerhouse voice and a love for good people. She serves as a great older sister-type friend to Elise and shows that you can find friends in the most unlikely of places. Pippa's a British bombshell and I was never really a big fan of her, mostly for personal reasons. She's territorial and loves to drink. Mel is the gay bodyguard whose age I don't really know because they're constantly bantering about the years he has under his belt, but he was almost like a second protective father to Elise.

And then there's Char. You know how first love can be blinding? You are head over heels for a person and their flaws simply are not visible to you. That's how it was for Elise in regards to Char. I struggled with him from page one just because he seemed like he hated every situation he could find himself in unless he was at the center of everything. If the world was not his dance floor, than the world was not worthy of his presence. That's the type of attitude he had. And even then it's glaringly obvious that the Char we know is not the Char that appears when the sun is out. But Elise feels for him and it was greatly reflective of the way first love is. I think that was a huge accomplishment for Sales.

Lastly, I think that the cyber-bullying that takes place in this was depicted perfectly. I despise bullies in general, but cyber-bullies have this special place in my heart just below terrorists, rapists, and murderers. Following someone who is already vulnerable in public and ruining their private life at home takes evil to an entirely new level, and the cyber-bullying that took place in this book was so real. Though it may seem fake and inconsequential to some, I know people that similar things happened to. And while the bully was completely unexpected and that was rather bothersome, the overall plot blew me away enough for me to overlook that small detail.

There was also this one part of the book that really stuck out to me. The popular girl that everyone hates got personal with Elise for all of one second in regards to her scars and attempted suicide. It shows that you may not know everyone as well as you think you do. Everyone has secrets and everyone acts different when alone. Not everyone is one dimensional.

All in all, this book is a must read. It's quick, it's powerful, and it's full of a bunch of firsts that every teenager experiences. It took me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I recommend this to everyone. Truly, this is one to pick up whether you love a powerful story, real happenings, relatability (which is my favorite non-word), and/or music. 

 
5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Disclaimer: I did not receive any form of compensation in return for my honest review.  

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If you have any book that you'd like me to read because you're unsure about it or you think it would be awesome to torture me with a terrible book, submit it below!
  

17 comments:

  1. I read this book a few weeks ago and I completely agree with you. It's a very powerful story that everyone should read.

    Great review Lili!

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    1. I know, right?! The fact that such strong messages made it in less than 300 pages is absurd to me! So amazing <3

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  2. Ah, this review, I love it. "Pure perfection" -- that's a book I need to read. I also love how the characters seem multi-dimensional with the popular girl having many layers. It makes a story gooood. I've heard such great things about this one, that I know I definitely need to read it now. Your stamp of approval has solidified this!

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    1. They really are! I don't want to reveal the scene with the popular girl, but it was totally shocking since it hints at some MAJOR secrets she may have that you wouldn't expect her to have.

      MY STAMP OF APPROVAL HAS SOLIDIFIED THIS?! <3 I love you so much, girl! I'd send you my copy if I didn't love it so much!

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  3. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It gave me all sorts of feelings and I completely agree with your review. AND also EWWW CHAR.

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    1. CHAR SUCKS! aghhhh! But he represents like 90% of the guys in his general age group, no? So amazing written but all around sucky!

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    2. Yes. He definitely does. I think that's part of why I disliked him so much...because he reminded me of every guy I was involved with in college lol. Very realistic but still frustrating.

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  4. Yeahhhh! I'm so glad you loved it! I at first liked Char, despite his misgivings, but then later on in the book I couldn't stand his attitude, especially towards Elise! And I was also taken by complete surprise that the book was powerful, yet short.

    Love your review!

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    1. It's very easy to hate him. I guess because I'm closer to this age group I was like just "ASSHOLE ALERT!" from page one. But I can see other people going from liking him to hating him easily. In the end, it's impossible to like him.

      Thank you, Kierra! <3

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  5. I'm so excited about this one and after reading your review I'm even more so. I love Sales writing style and it sounds like she handles all of the heavy topics so well! Great review!

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    1. I haven't read any of her previous books before! I desperately want to now though!

      She does... cyber-bullying, suicide, peer pressure, not fitting in. Every teenage age 13 - 17 needs to read this! Hell, I'm 18 and think everyone I know should read it.

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  6. I absolutely loved this book. For some reason I thought it was just going to be another meh book, but I was completely wrong. I loved the author's writing style and almost all the characters. So glad I read it. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy Pippa's character.

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    1. MEH and THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE do not deserve to be in the same sentence because it was that amazing. Completely agree! <3

      Pippa was agh. I get that she tried to redeem herself at the end, but it wasn't enough for me!

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  7. I've heard amazing things about this book and I am super excited about it. Thanks for the great review.

    I know subjects like these must be so tricky to write about, but when the authors nail it - like you said Sales did here - it just makes my heart sing. Especially when they turn out to be books that I can recommend to some of the teenagers I know. Much more powerful than a fantasy/dystopian novel - not that I'm knocking them, but you know what I mean.

    ​~​​Andrea @ ​Beauty but a Funny Girl

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    1. It makes my heart sing too! That is the perfect way to describe feelings like this.

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Fantasy and dystopian are amazing for world-building and details, but realistic fiction is where you go to bawl your eyes out.

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  8. I am so excited about this book because of MUSIC! I'm interested to see how it will play into the story.

    I haven't read anything by Leila Sales, and I'm hoping this book will convert me to a Leila Sales lover (if that makes any sense).

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    1. It is such a huge part! And the plethora of bands mentioned is insanely huge. So you'll most likely enjoy that aspect.

      It will make you a Sales lover! It definitely has done so to me. Her other books are now on my TBR!

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