Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on September 17, 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Source: For Review
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
Elise has always been on the outside and gotten picked on and endures school with no friends. She makes one last attempt to create a new Elise and try to fit in but it fails in the worst way and she thinks she just can’t bear it anymore. After she hits an ultimate low, she wanders off to walk one night and ends up in front of a warehouse where a secret party is happening and she meets people who welcome her in and accept her rather than looking at her the way her classmates do. Once inside she falls in love with the rush of the music and finds herself enthralled with DJing. As she falls more in love with DJing and feels like somebody, things at school seems to get even worse as her past sticks with her.
This Song Will Save Your Life was actually a bit of a surprise for me. It sounded like a fun contemporary novel that I would LIKE but I didn’t expect it to really make the kind of impression that it did and hit me square in the heart. I’m DEFINITELY going to be checking out Leila Sales others books if this is what I have to look forward to because she writes a damn good story with characters that feel familiar yet feel so unique. Its spirit pulses from the pages, right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you.
The official synopsis does not even prepare you for how heartbreaking Elise’s story is in terms of how she gets made fun of and bullied. She was genuinely different and I felt so bad for her for the shame she felt in that. I remember that feeling of needing to blend in during high school and it makes me ragey now to think about how much of my self I hid. It was heartbreaking to see how she was treated and to know just how lonely she was. I don’t want to say too much about the specifics but your heart will BREAK for Elise (and you’ll want to hulksmash some people) and what she has to endure but you will root for her as she begins to be okay with the things that make her different and find people who help her embrace who she is.
I’m not going to lie. Leila Sales had her work cut out for her to convince me that “teenage DJ” wasn’t going to be super corny. I will tell you that she successfully proved me wrong and I felt like I was walking into the club with Elise for the first time and feeling so excited every step of the way. I could feel the energy and I loved how the setting was written perfectly. Music has been amazingly lifesaving in my own life and I could just FEEL how it was invigorating to her and stirred something inside her. I was a little nervous at points in the book to think this story was going to follow the trend of romance being what redeems or saves someone but Leila stayed true to the title and Elise truly is one of the most kickass characters ever.
ALSO TO NOTE…the supporting characters are MY FAVORITE EVER. Seriously. I loved so many of them that I could write 5 more paragraphs but I WON’T…just please go open this book and meet them.
Absolutely LOVED this book. I expected I would LIKE it but I didn’t expect that I would feel so strongly about it and that it would have been such a touching read for me. I loved Elise’s story and the uniqueness of the setting and plot. Teenage DJ could have been a corny concept but Leila Sales nails it. Heartbreaking at times, honest and inspiring in that you don’t necessarily have to CHANGE to find yourself but you just have to see those perceived weaknesses or quirks as your strength and learn to be comfortable in your skin. The power of music and TRUE friendships that don’t try to change you also really resonated with me.
Let’s Talk: Did you read this one?? What did you think of it — similar thoughts to mine or different? I’d love to hear them either way! Did you think the whole Char & Elise thing was going to be cliched “he saves me” storyline at certain points? Who was your fave minor character? I rather loved Mel and obviously Vicky!!