Honest, true-to-life novel about bullying, self harm, depression, love, friendship and music.
This Song Will Save Your Life Summary (from Goodreads)
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.
I just wrote and deleted the first word of this review so many times I can’t even count them, but most of them were ‘wow’ or ‘phew’ or ‘gosh’ or something along those lines. Because it’s hard to put into words exactly how I feel about this book, but those were the words that popped into my head when I finished reading it. It really moved me, even though I’ve never been through anything that comes close to the experiences Elise, our main character in this novel, has had to endure.
I think what I loved about it was how real it felt. It spoke to me in a way that most books don’t. I actually had no idea what this book was about or what to expect from it when I picked it up. I’d seen its name mentioned around the web, I thought the cover was gorgeous, and it was a signed copy that was just begging me to take it home from Hatchards.
So when I began reading it, I actually first thought I might be a little old for it. Elise’s attitude within the first few pages is quite childish, and the seriousness of the situation was absolutely unclear. But that soon changed when Elise hit rock bottom, and contemplated killing herself. Like I said before, I’ve never been in that situation and I hope that I never am, but even still I really felt a connection with Elise, and I think anyone else who reads it will too.
She’s not always the most likeable character, and sometimes you’ll want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her to try and snap her out of it, but that’s what makes This Song Will Save Your Life so great. It’s honest, and doesn’t sugar coat bullying, self harm or depression even in the slightest. I’ve read other books centred around similar subjects that I actually felt gave out the wrong messages, but this author, Leila Sales, really knows what she’s doing.
I loved that, while there is a love interest in this novel, it’s absolutely not the focus of the plot. And even the romance felt completely realistic: not mushy or over-the-top, but genuine, gritty and true to real life.
I didn’t think I’d get into the music and DJing side of this book, both of which are huge passions of Elise’s, but I actually found it fascinating. I’m not a clubbing kind of girl, but even I felt as though I was there with the characters, enjoying myself and dancing with no inhibitions.
Everyone should read this book. It’s eye-opening, thought provoking and could actually really help people, whether they are in a similar state of mind to Elise or they don’t understand what it’s like to feel that way. It’s certainly not a feel-good beachside read, but it’s ideal for anyone looking for something really meaningful to get sucked in to.
***** 5/5 stars
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