This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published By: Macmillan
Published On: October 10, 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.
Elise Dembowski wants nothing more than to be liked by her classmates and embarks on her next big project; to make herself ‘cool’ enough to get some friends. When her plan doesn’t go to plan, Elise decides it is time to give up. However, once she accidentally finds the best underground dance party ever, things begin to change for Elise.
This is the typical, some may say overdone, story of the unpopular girl in high school who just wants some friends. It is something that many people can relate to, which is possibly why it is such a common premise for a novel. When I first realised this was the story I was reading, I began to doubt this book but I soon discovered I was wrong to do so.
While the storyline may have been done to death, this was not your average take on the unpopular girl wants some friends plot. Leila Sales somehow found a way to take the story everyone knows, and can likely relate to, and put a unique twist on it to make it all the more enjoyable.
The warehouse party scene is not one I have read about before but it made for a great backdrop for this story. Start may simply be the setting but as the plot develops you see it become so much more than that. It is the place where everything changes for Elise and plays such a vital role. I loved the significance of this unique setting, and it’s overall significance.
Our main character is as relatable as her story, the girl who wants nothing more than a friend to sit with at lunch. Elise may have done plenty of things to frustrate me throughout this book but you cannot deny that this girl is likeable. Despite all of her struggles, she remained far stronger than the average sixteen-year-old girl, and still managed to make it to school after her late nights. There are also some really great side characters in this book, Vicky for example, who I really enjoyed reading about. I must admit, though, that Alex was an adorable character and definitely my favourite.
There are two aspects of this book that really stood out to me, the first being the way the very serious issues were handled. The title itself hints that this may not be the most light-hearted read and that is a fair assumption to make. There are some dark issues dealt with in the book, suicide and self-harm being the most prominent. I think Leila Sales incorporated and addressed these issues perfectly. While Elise’s struggle was clear, and the severity of the situation also clear, there was no dwelling on these points. There is a fine line between brushing over these topics and discussing them too much but I think this balance was just right.
The second aspect of this book that stood out to me was the strong focus on music. Again, this is clear from the title but what is not clear is just how important a role music plays. While Elise being a DJ is a strong focus in this book, making music an obviously important aspect, the main point I picked up from reading this book is how music can bring people together and create lasting bonds. This is illustrated through the relationships in this book and the fact that, in most cases, it is music that has brought the characters together and created that important bond.
Overall, despite having a few issues with the main character being a little frustrating at times, I really enjoyed this book. It is not only an enjoyable read but an inspiring one. With an main character like Elise, who has been through so much, it is hard not to be inspired by her story and realise that whatever is happening in your life, you can get through it.