Age: Young Adult
Interest: Pretty Cover/ Love the Title/ Bullying
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. (Summary from Goodreads.com)
I received this e-arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion in any way.
This Song Will Save Your Life was an emotional novel for me to read. I never experienced the level of bullying Elise was subjected to. Yet I completely understood her urge to stop living, stop existing, get rid of all the pressure. The novel reminded me of all the best and worst moments of my school years.
Elise was a different type of character for me to read. While I was able to empathize with her, I couldn't support a large number of her decisions. I knew they were the wrong ones, the heart breaking kind that can leave invisible scars. Still, I wasn't able to dislike her because I could see where she was coming from.
The side characters in This Song Will Save Your Life gave me the same polarized feelings. Elise's parents were trying to help and protect their daughter. Yet many of their decisions destroyed pieces of their relationship instead of building them up. Char, oh my. Char. There needs to be discussion about him. I could not decide whether to enjoy or dislike him all the way up to the moment his intentions were revealed. In a writing respect, I know it's good to create that ambiguity. As a reader, I get very stressed out over it. Pippa. Well, we just don't talk about Pippa.
Vicky was a joy to read about. A commenter brought up the idea that they'd like to know what happened to her after the end of the book. I agree. I think a sequel about Vicky would be a great way to explore her character and wrap up (what I feel are) some of Elise's loose ends.
There were many things I enjoyed about This Song Will Save Your life. The prose was soft and lyrical, increasing in strength as Elise found her voice. I adored the exploration of the relationships between Elise, her divorced parents and step family. It was a major part of the book, but didn't intrude on any other plot line. I was happy with the way Elise's journey took so many turns and felt real. She was a kid, an uncertain one who made mistakes. I liked that she didn't seem to know everything. I won't spoil the book, I swear, but I will say I am proud of how Char and Elise's relationship turned out. Not many girls would have been strong enough to do what she did. I could go on for longer about all the little things I loved about the book, but there's only so much space I want to take up!
My request or wish for the book, would be to have a tiny epilogue or extra scene detailing how Elise's life changed after the ending of the book. A snap shot of her life in college would have been ideal for me. She had gone through so much. I simply wanted to know how it effected her, for better or worse.
The music referenced in this book is awesome. Hands down. Find the Spotify playlist (at the end of this review) and listen to it. There's some good new songs mixed with great oldies.
Overall, I'd recommend This Song Will Save Your Life to any adult, teen or "tween," especially those having a hard time fitting in. The book emphasizes finding something you love or are passionate about and letting it pull you through the dark times in life. That can be an essential message to someone staring into their own abyss without an answer.
It gets better. And you should be alive to see it.
Teaser Line: "Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don't know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn't you. That isn't you at all."
Here is a link to the Spotify playlist for This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Here is a graphic (made by me!) of all the songs mentioned in This Song Will Save Your Life. (Click to enlarge)