Told in a refreshingly genuine voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
First Sentence: You think it’s so easy to change yourself.
I’m sure most of you guys know by now – I’m not a contemporary fan at all. I’m only into contemporary if it also has some paranormal or horror elements in it, with a very few select exceptions to this rule like Anna and the French Kiss, Pushing the Limits, and My Life Next Door. Because of this, I was so surprised to really love and enjoy reading This Song Will Save Your Life. From the very first page, This Song Will Save Your Life immediately caught my attention – and my heart. This Song Will Save Your Life will keep you reading, feel a wide range of emotions, and keep you personally invested in the book.
This Song Will Save Your Life is about finding your voice – and yourself. Elise has been struggling with her personal identity ever since she was a kid. She just didn’t fit in – her clothes were all wrong, the words she uses were all wrong, everything about her just didn’t fit in with the other, cool “ordinary” people. It was painful and sad for me to read about how Elise had tried to go through a transformation that made her not herself, thinking people will suddenly really like her and want be her friend because she was now ordinary. That completely broke my heart because that was like me when I was a preteen. Like Elise, I struggled to fit in, to have a close group of friends, and most of all, to be happy. I mean, who doesn’t want to fit in? Have a close group of friends? Have someone to share jokes with? No one.
But can you put a price on happiness? Really, if that’s what it costs to make you glad to be yourself, then isn’t it worth it? (ARC 8)
I really liked the main character Elise – with the exception of some cases. Elise wants to be accepted for who she is and not what she isn’t, struggling with that throughout the book. Elise doesn’t want to be judged; she just wants a friend. However, Elise is quite judgmental herself, so judgmental that I cringe when I read her personal thoughts sometimes. Elise portrays people with certain character traits from their classical appearance without really knowing them – something she doesn’t want people to do to her. To make matters worse, Elise has two “friends” that she constantly puts down in her mind, giving me a very strong impression that she thinks that she’s too good for them.
My friends are named Sally and Chava. They are both less popular than me, and I don’t know why, but I hope it’s because they are unbelievably boring. They have only one interest, and that is: what the popular kids are doing. (ARC 50)
If that isn’t judgmental, I don’t know what is. Luckily, Elise changes a bit in the end.
This Song Will Save Your Life also opened my eyes to DJing. Before I read the book, I thought that DJs had such an easy job, all they had to do was change songs before it ended. With technology the way it is today, anyone could easily do that job. It turns out I was dead wrong; DJing is so much more than that. Yes, you do have to change songs before the song has ended, but you also have to match beats. I especially know how hard that job is, especially since I’m tone deaf. Not to mention, to be an excellent DJ like Elise, you also have to learn how to read a crowd.
This Song Will Save Your Life has tons and tons and tons of beautiful, note-worthy, heartwarming quotes. In fact, my notebook is filled with lines and lines of them. Leila Sales somehow managed to describe some indescribable feelings in just two or three sentences, which absolutely just amazes me.
But I also felt like an eggshell that had gotten a tiny crack. You can’t repair something like that. All you can do is hope that it sticks together, hope that the crack doesn’t grow until all your insides come spilling right out. (ARC 169)
In the end, everyone has to read this book. I don’t care if you’re not a contemporary fan like me or if you don’t want to read a book with a suicide attempt in it. This Song Will Save Your Life is so much more than that. This Song Will Save Your Life is about Elise’s journey on finding herself and trying to fit in, her personal struggles, and most of all, her story. Bottom line: Everyone has to read this book.
I’ll end my review with this devastatingly beautiful quote:
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. (ARC 241)