Date of Publication: September 17 2013
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.
It was probably one of the most hyped of books of the year so I was dying to get my hands on it. After having read it, it wasn't what I was expecting in some ways and surprised me in others.
First, this book did not change my life. I didn't cry or get teary, but there were times when I was horrified. As much as I related to Elise, I think our issues are very different.
Elise is tired of being on the outside. She's not popular and she has trouble even making friends. She is bullied on account of being so different and in general, she has a hard time connecting to people. She needs that though. Elise desperately needs someone to see her and to kind of find her place. She wants friends.
I would normally be extremely weary of a book about popularity and bullying and that's because I don't like people who victimize themselves. It's human nature I suppose, but I do believe that a big part of anti-bullying strategies has to be empowering people to realize their own worth and never have it be taken away from them. I was happy to see that Elise knows who she is and fights back in her own way. What people says hurts her, but she tries to minimize it.
What makes This Song Will Save Your Life such a great book is that it is to easy to connect to. It often had me thinking about my own life and my own choices. Elise is brilliant in ways that people can't see and don't initially realize. When she does something, she throws everything into it. She's always doing more and extra, and somewhere along the way Elise has decided that is what is wrong with her- her otherness. So, she tries to hold herself back and be like other people, or at least what other people outwardly show.
Elise's character is rational and I adored her. She changes and truly grows and I'm proud of her. The other characters in the story are good too. They all have their issues, from Vicky to Char, but seeing all the different layers to them was pretty special. I enjoyed learning about them.
The DJing aspect was super cool. It's something that I was always interested in and that wasn't in YA so it was a very original flair to the story. Although I don't have the same taste in music as Elise, I loved her love of music.
The strongest part to This Song Will Save Your Life is the message. It can be interpreted in many ways because there are a lot of topics touched on like suicide and bullying, but the message that I took to heart is never to hold yourself back. It's an inspiring message and one that I think matters a lot.
When I was writing this review, I constantly had to keep deleting paragraphs I wrote because I would leave the topic of the story and focus on personal stuff that had nothing to do with the book. That's because This Song Will Save Your Life is an introspective book, the type that makes me look at my life. Everyone needs to read books like this.