Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life

“This Song Will Save Your Life,” by Leila Sales. The Goodreads summary:
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.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Leila Sales two other books, it’s that the girl can write. Her writing style is just so engaging and witty, and I find myself getting pulled in whether I want to be or not. Because, to be honest, there were certain points in this book when I was thinking about tossing it into the proverbial DNF pile, but the writing always convinced me to keep going. So, you know, high five to Leila Sales for that.

I think the main thing that got to me about this book was Elise. She just . . . got on my nerves sometimes, and a really petty part of me couldn’t help thinking “No wonder no one at school likes you.” Which thinking that, even about a fictional character, made me feel like a terrible person, but guilt aside, I couldn’t handle Elise at times. I just wanted her to stop being so self-pitying and selfish and to get a grip and get some self-confidence. And, okay, I realize that the whole point of the book is Elise learning to like herself for who she is, etc., etc. But still, I couldn’t ever decide whether the fact that she annoyed me so much made Elise a really poorly written character or a really well-written one.

The other thing I wasn’t too thrilled about was that the “moral of the story,” so to speak, was so blatant. There were certain scenes that just felt like a public service announcement for self-worth. And I like to think most readers would be smart enough to figure out the message of the book without it being handed to them tied up with a bow.

But those two issues aside, I did find myself enjoying the book in other parts. Like all the stuff about DJing I found fascinating, mostly because my knowledge of indie dance parties and what it takes to be a DJ is approximately zero. I also liked the bits with Char in them. Yes, he’s a total tool, but I admired that the author could write a character who’s such a jerk without necessarily making him the bad guy.

Overall, although I had some issues with the book, the strong writing carried me through, and I’ll still be reading whatever Leila Sales writes next.

Rating: 3 / 5

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy you found enough good things to get you through the book. I'd heard a lot of good things but I don't think I made it past 50 pages, for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned.


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