Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Getting through high school is difficult for a number of people - and I'm not talking academically. As much as school is about class, it's about fitting in, and when you don't, the struggles can seem insurmountable. This novel isn't as much about finding your place in high school, but about find out who you are.

Ever since the fourth grade, Elise has known that she was unpopular. At the start of sophomore year, she's determined to be popular and did everything she could think of to succeed. When she fails, she believes that suicide is the only option, but even that doesn't work out like she planned. Now she's just as unpopular and lost until she runs into a pair of girls who invite her to an underground dance club where Elise can get lost in the music. While there, Elise discovers a passion for DJing, some real friends, and a boyfriend. All of this, though, is still a secret, and her real life is exploding with the discovery of a fake diary in her name that points out how unpopular she is in school. Just when she thinks that things are finally going her way at the club, everything falls apart and she risks losing everything that had finally made sense to her.  Had she really discovered who she really was, or was this just another act to try and fit in?

Elise has a great voice throughout this book. From the very beginning, she's someone you can relate to as this girl desperate to be liked. I was a little bothered by how casually she treated suicide given how serious of a situation it is, but I guess it fit with her personality and the fact that she really didn't want to die. You really felt for this character and her struggle to be liked that you cheer when she gets accepted and crushed when it seems like she's been rejected again. You want her to find her niche and she does. This book is heavy with music references. The problem I had is that some of them are obscure - at least in the eyes of someone not into the music scene. If it was all popular songs, it could easily date the book, but I only knew a handful of the songs and that left me feeling like I was missing out on something. Does that detract from the telling of the story, not really. 

This book has a great message about finding out what makes you "you" and embracing it. You can't let other people tell you what's cool or not or be afraid of who you are. Elise finds this awesome talent which also makes her psuedo-popular. It almost makes me wish her talent and experience was a little bit more realistic for the average person to relate to and see how "easy" it can be to find yourself because I think the message of the book is so important. Not everyone is going to become DJ Elise, but everyone has the chance to love who they are. Definitely a book to read.

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