Thursday, August 22, 2013
ARC Review: This Song Will Save Your Life
Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR, 2013
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.
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