Thursday, August 22, 2013

ARC Review: This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
5/5 stars
Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR, 2013
274 pages
YA Contemporary
Scheduled to release September 17

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had seen a lot of rave reviews of this book before I picked it up for myself but I hadn't read them too closely, to preserve some surprises for myself and to hopefully avoid having it become overhyped for me. At the least I figured I'd enjoy it because I liked Sales' previous books, Mostly Good Girls and Past Perfect, in particular because of their portrayal of female friendships over romance. Well, way to go instincts. Though it took a few chapters, I ended up being completely captivated by this book and experiencing a very powerful emotional connection to it.

Main character Elise has never seemed to fit in-being too precocious, too consumed with topics her peers didn't care about, too something. While she studies the magazines and pop culture that are popular, her attempts to reach out and make friends are continually stymied. This one-hundred percent resonated with me. I was fortunately never bullied and I had a small circle of friends but I spent so much time in middle school, high school, and even college wondering if there had been some class about how to socialize that I missed somehow (the fact that I thought there would be a class to teach some skills may explain the problem somewhat.) I so bought into her isolation and pain, making this sometimes a difficult read when I over-identified but also a powerful one as I worked through some lingering feelings from that period.

Back to the story, which honestly won't seem like much as I summarize it. When Elise suffers another humiliating day at high school, she hits on the idea of killing herself. That is thwarted and her divorced parents watch over her as closely as they can to prevent a reoccurrence. But life has not improved for Elise who spends her nights wandering aimlessly before stumbling upon Start, the hottest warehouse party around and meets Vicky, Pippa, and Char; the latter introduces her to DJ-ing, exploiting her vast knowledge of music and filling Elise's life with something she unabashedly adores and excels at. He is also the love interest but true to Sales' style (as I've observed), he does not take over the entire book or Elise's world; he is more an object of physical attraction, a brief stopping point in her life as Elise goes on to bigger and better.

Far more intriguing is Vicky, a musician whose friendship and cheering on of Elise were excellent to read. Elise also does manage to make two friends at school who, yes, are genuine friends she realizes as the story progresses. Sally and Chava receive a lot of scorn from Elise at the start but they stick by her and I appreciated that they were good people at the core.

Overall: I just adored this book. Though I might quibble with Elise's high and mighty opinion about what constitutes good music (I suspect she'd turn her nose up in disgust at my playlists and I do resent music snobs), I am in mad love with this book and plan to push it on several other people in the hopes that they experience the magic I felt.

Other Opinions:
Good Books and Good Wine
I Swim For Oceans
Inspiring Insomnia
Paranormal Indulgence
Reading Teen
The Flyleaf Review-features playlists!

30 comments:

  1. Aw, yay! Glad you enjoyed this :D I have it via Netgalley, and I'm hoping to read it soon :) Think it sounds awesome.

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    1. Definitely make it a priority-I just adored it!

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  2. Wow, that is really high praise! I will have to check this one out and make sure I order it for my library.

    I think a lot of teens would be able to relate to that feeling of not quite fitting in and I love that music plays a part in the protagonist's healing.

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    1. Yes and mine is only one of a chorus of raves for this amazing book!

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  3. I have this one from Netgalley and have been saving it for a weekend so that I can read it all at once. Sounds like that's a good plan.

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    1. Definitely save it to read it in one go if you can-I wish I had been able to do that but it still packed a punch over several days reading.

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  4. I'm super excited to read this book. It's been getting some ridiculous hype and I guess most people can relate to the main character and not fitting in perfectly.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. I have read so many things lately about not fitting in-why didn't I read those in high school when they would have meant so much???

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  5. Sounds great! We love the title, but we hadn't heard that much about it (have we been under a rock??) so it's good to get a better sense of what it's about. :)

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    1. It is so good-I bet as the release date gets closer, you'll be hearing more as there is just so much good to say! I didn't even touch on everything because it's all so good.

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  6. I don't like music snobs either since I have such a random taste in artists/songs. LOL Regardless, this does sound good. I'm happy to hear the romance isn't the be all and end all of the book. Life is much more than cute guys, etc.

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    1. It helped that she was just in the book and it didn't go on for too long-if we met in real life, she'd judge the crap out of me.

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  7. Yay! Fabulous review! So you have read mine and you know how I feel about this book. I love what you said about Elise--I love how so many readers have identified with her and this book in one way or another. For me it was the music for sure, but I think it's awesome that you identified with her too.

    I love your mentioning that Char and the love story doesn't overtake the story--I feel the same and really appreciated this about the book. And VICKY! YRS! We need more Vicky Blanchett, rock star. At least another book:)

    I need to get my hands on Past Perfect because I think I'd love it as well:)

    And thanks for the link to my review:)

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    1. Had to link to your review-I was so glad I saw it before I went live. Definitely give Past Perfect a read-it has such a fun concept and though I liked it less than this book, there were still some really good moments.

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  8. I so, SO want to read this one! I LOVE Leila Sales, and her style is right up my alley. This is on my MUST BUY LIST!

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    1. Good plan-hopefully you'll be able to read it as soon as it releases!

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  9. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I skimmed your review, I am going to start this soon, and I am really excited now. :)

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    1. Cool-excited to see your thoughts and hopeful it resonates as powerfully.

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  10. I have this one on my TBR list --- and moving it up in the list now, after reading your review. :)

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    1. Definitely move it up-you don't want to miss this one.

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  11. I have seen nothing but positive reviews for this book! It's hard to summarize a book like this because it sounds like there is just so much between the lines, you just have to read it!

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    1. I hope that means you're going to give this a read :)

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  12. I LOVED this book. I still have to write my review -- and I agree, it's hard to put into words why I liked it….

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    1. Yeah, I don't think I quite managed to capture everything but this was my best stab given my time constraints. Looking forward to seeing how you phrase it!

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  13. I was always curious about the title! I'm so glad you loved it! I have to check it out!

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    1. It is so so good and I hope you adore it!

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  14. I'm glad you liked it! I loved Past Perfect and had been hoping this book would live up to that :)
    And yeah, music snobs are annoying!

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    1. I think this is even better than Past Perfect-way to go Sales in surpassing yourself!

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  15. I would have missed this book if not for your review. After your "mad love" comment it's definitely going on my must-read list. Thanks :)

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    1. So glad to bring it to your attention-it's such a worthwhile read!

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