WOW TWO REVIEWS IN ONE MONTH. I must be on a roll or something (That was sarcasm, by the way. I call this a book blog but I almost never review anything).
Anyway, I’ve just joined a book club at my library, and we’re meeting on Saturday to discuss This Song Will Save Your Life, so I figured I would review it here first to get my thoughts sorted out a little. And let me tell you, this book was AMAZING. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to actually intelligently review the book or just sit there and flail my arms around. It was that good.
This is a spoiler free review!
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.
I love books about music! Playlist for the Dead, If I Stay, basically anything music related I am pretty much guaranteed to at least enjoy, if not love. So music in books is always a bonus for me. And not only was this one about music, but it had a bunch of little playlists at the end!!!
Her family felt more realistic than a lot of families in YA. Elise’s parents weren’t just obstacles in the way of an epic romance or something – they cared for her, and they wanted to protect her as best they could. They tried their hardest to understand her, instead of grounding her the moment she did something wrong. They were reasonable, and I find that a lot of parents in YA aren’t.
Also, the romance subplot felt really realistic. If you’re looking for a fluffy romance, this is most definitely not the book for you. The “love interest” (although that’s a questionable term when it comes to him) was a pretty horrible guy, and, although it wasn’t entirely clear, I think Elise realizes that in the end. She was sixteen. It would have been rather ridiculous if she had fallen in Love with a capital L, seeing as she’s so young. I enjoy YA romances now and then, yeah, but they also tend to seem pretty ridiculous most of the time (*cough* The Fault in Our Stars *cough*).
ALL OF THE CHARACTERS WERE SO FLESHED OUT. And, I mean, sorry for the all caps, but this makes me excited because I love well developed characters. This wasn’t just a story about Elise. It was a story about Elise and the people around her who helped shape who she was as a person. For example, Elise’s two friends, Sally and Chava, at first seemed to be two super shallow, giggly gossip girls with overprotective parents. Elise assumed that they only hung out with her because they weren’t popular enough to have any other friends. In the end, though, you see that Sally and Chava really did care about Elise. Elise had plenty of friends- she just wasn’t able to see that.
I felt that Elise was a really relatable protagonist. It wasn’t just her misfit status, or her hatred of pop music, or the way she would immerse herself in all-encompassing projects (although those are all traits that I share with her). She just felt… real. She didn’t act like a character in a book who was just acting to further the plot, she reacted in ways that a real person would. This was very much a character driven novel. The plot was there, yeah, but characters who really made the story.
Most of my problems with this book are just minor things. Like… I liked Elise’s character, yeah, but some parts of her arc didn’t make sense to me. Like, how did she learn to be a master DJ in two weeks while also keeping up with school and spending the entire night at a dance club once a week? Also, Mel, the gay bouncer for the dance club, was a bit of a cliche, but then, I did enjoy his protective father/daughter kind of relationship with Elise. And I didn’t get how Elise got away with walking all night, alone, especially considering that her parents knew she was suicidal and she had said herself that they kept a close watch on her.
I love this book. I’ve read mixed reviews of it, but man, was this one good. It’s made it onto my shelf of Favorite Books (that I don’t actually own), right up there next to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Four out of five stars
Recommended to: indie music fans, people who liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone who enjoys character driven novels