My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Beware spoilers ahead!
I first heard of this book from Emily May. I was just going through Goodreads and I found this book. The only review that I read at the time was Emily May’s review. It was late and at that time I wasn’t sold for reading this book let alone investing in it. After I believe two months I went back to her review again and fell in love with it. I was so moved by her review that I thought I would also love it to bits and pieces. While I do not love it was a really great book.
The books starts off with our main character Elise as she explains that she has never been gifted at making friends. She is hated by everyone in her school and desperately wants to fit in. So she spends her whole summer before she goes to grade 10 researching how to fit in. She watches all these movie’s, reads a bunch of magazine articles, and buy’s new clothes.
Upon her first day of school she is surprised that nobody takes interest in her. Assuming that this is because it is early in the morning she brushes it off at first. When lunch time comes she has no idea where she should sit. She makes her way over to Amelia’s (a nice girl in her class) table and asks if she could sit with them. Amelia agrees so she sits. Amelia and her friends start making conversation. Realization hits Elise that while she did all that research she never thought about what would happen if she has no idea what her new friends are talking about. She does not interject but continues to sit there and eat her lunch. When the first bell goes off signaling that lunch period is nearly over all the girls put their fingers on their noses. Then one of Amelia’s friends tells Elise that she has to clean their trash as she did not put her finger on her nose. They leave her to clean up their trash.
Elise feels her all her research was done for nothing, that she wasted her time, why would she think that she would manage to fit in? After cleaning up their trash she goes home to commit suicide. Obviously she doesn’t end up doing it but she does get three scars from it.
Seven months after it is revealed that Elise called Amelia and told her that she tried to commit suicide. Logically Amelia called 911. Her parents found out and kept her home from school for two weeks. When she returns to school she makes friends with Sally and Chava. Well more like she sits with them during lunch. She didn’t really consider them friends in the beginning of the book.
Her parents are divorced so she switches back and forth with staying at her mothers house and her fathers. Her parents divorced when she was six years old. Her mother got remarried and now Elise has a step-father (Steve) and two half siblings (Neil and Alex) as well as two dogs.
While she is at her mothers house she waits for them to all go to bed. Once they are asleep she starts talking a walk. Apparently walks in the middle of the night calm her and help her fall asleep faster.
During her walk she runs into two girls who start talking about some Start. She has no idea what they are talking about but follows them anyways. They take her to a club that’s called Start. The girls names are Pippa and Vicky. While inside she sees the Dj who goes by Char. Vicky and Pippa give their drinks to Elise while they continue dancing. Thinking they are using her as their drink holder she leaves. Only to decide to go back there two weeks later.
The reason this is not a five star is because I didn’t really like Elise. After reading Emily May’s review I thought I would see myself in her. I to was actually bullied but not to the degree that Elise was. Elise and I are very different people. While she spent her summer trying to change herself to fit in I simply went with the flow. I wanted people to like me for who I was. I wasn’t going to go out of my way to change just to please someone. This aspect about her really annoyed me. I am aware that it is realistic and a commend Sales for writing Elise as such, I have never agreed with people who change themselves to fit in. Though I do understand why they do it. Elise trying to be a good sister try’s to save Alex from becoming like her. This was really hurtful. While she did apologize I just couldn’t get over it. I am the oldest as well I will do anything for my family. I am not going to lie yes I to have hurt my siblings but I have never hurt any of my siblings the way Elise did.
I loved the relationships in this book! The family was so much fun to read about. They were very support of each other and caring. I loved how the author addressed that when you buy new clothes and get a new haircut you do not instantly get new friends. I’m not sure why movies portray it as such. Despite the fact that I didn’t like Elise I am happy that Sales wrote her character that way. All the characters in this book were realistic and fleshed out beautifully. The romance that was hinted in the end was sweet and I totally ship them! The minute I started reading the first page I was instantly sucked in. I also liked the way Sales addressed cyber bullying. I liked how eventually Elise learned to trust that some people are nice that not every person has ulterior motives. She learned to love herself for who she was. And that I believe is an important lesson that we should all learn and practice.
Overall this was a great book! Anyone can read this. This is not just for people who feel like they don’t belong, this book is for everybody. Whether or not you have been in Elise’s situation you can easily empathize with her. I recommend this to everyone!