When I was looking at the book covers of all of the authors that would be at ATBF, This Song Will Save Your Life was one of the ones that immediately stood out to me because 1) I love music, and the book was clearly going to be about music and 2) the book cover was just so pretty and it had the letters to spell “LOVE” in pink (the best color ever), so I knew when I went to ATBF, this was going to be one of the books I was going to buy.
My brief synopsis
This Song Will Save Your Life is about a girl named Elise who never quite fit in. And when I say never, I really mean never. She’s never really had a friend during her entire life. She gets really passionate about things, and when she wants to learn how to do something, she does it until she perfects it and then moves on to the next big thing.
Before the summer of her sophomore year, her big project was to become normal. Not popular, just normal. She would wear the right clothes, sit in the right seat on the bus, and know all of the gossip about all of the celebs. But none of it worked, and she found herself wanting to take her life (this happens in the first chapter, so don’t think I ruined the whole book for y’all!).
Fast forward to months later when her parents have her on suicide watch, someone has created a fake online diary about said suicide, and the only people who will be friends with her at school are two people who are seemingly less popular than her. She sneaks out every night to just walk and clear her head, and one Thursday night, she stumbles upon an underground club called Start. At Start, she’s thrown into unlikely friendships with Vicky, Char, Mel, and Pippa, and discovers her next project, DJing. In the midst of all the drama between her love affair with Char, her lack of friends (besides Sally and Chava) at school, and her broken family, being a DJ helps Elise discover who she’s meant to be.
First of all, I want to tell y’all that I started reading this book at 11 pm last Friday (cause I’m cool and instead of going out on the weekend, I decided to lie in bed and read) and was more than halfway through with it when I went to bed at 3 am. I woke up at 9 am on Saturday and laid in bed till 10:30-ish am to finish it. I literally did not want to put it down. It took me forever to actually talk myself into going to bed Friday night/Saturday morning.
Even though I’ve never been suicidal or had the desire to cut myself (which Elise did as “practice” before trying to kill herself), I still felt like I could really relate to Elise. I could relate to the feeling of always wanting to be more than you are. Also, like her, I have an obsessive personality. When I really like something, I just become obsessed with it until I get tired of it. For instance, right now I’m obsessed with Lorde (cause she’s freaking awesome).
Anyway, I think Leila created such a relatable character in Elise. She was an outcast at school, but when she found Start, she found somewhere where she belonged, and that just goes to show that there’s a place for everyone. I also love how Elise progressed throughout the book, and how she took responsibility for her past actions. After she practiced killing herself by cutting herself, she immediately realized that she didn’t want to die; she just wanted attention, and not many people would be willing to own up to that.
Also, when Elise was finally given a big break in DJ’ing, she spent a lot of time doubting herself before she realized that she needed to stop letting other people run her life. I think people, teenagers especially, are so influenced by what their peers think of them that they forget to be passionate about the things that they like. Instead, they try to fit in a mold to be just like all of their peers. I was a victim of that as a teenager as well. Especially after moving to Louisiana.
My favorite line of the whole book was spoken by Mel. He, Elise, Vicky, and Vicky’s brother, Henry, were talking about life in high school. Elise was having a freak out moment, and asked the three of them if they had been/are currently popular in high school. Mel said, “I don’t believe that anyone who is a legitimately interesting person can be popular as a teenager.” I feel like that kind of sums up a huge meaning behind the book. Life in high school doesn’t reflect how your entire life will be. I feel like I’ve come a long way since high school. That’s for sure.
When I was through reading this book. I just wanted more. Not in the negative sense that Leila left things open-ended, but I just wanted to hear more about the happy endings. For instance:
- Vicky and Henry are in a band called Dirty Curtains and they played their first gig at Start. Elise’s dad was in an old band and he liked them and complimented them on a great set. Henry freaked out and told Elise what a mysterious man in an old band had said to them, and Elise didn’t clarify that this guy was her father. I want to know how Henry reacts when he finds outs.
- Elise asked Henry to the Freshman/Sophomore Summer Formal (the freshman/sophomore equivalent of prom) in the very last chapter of the book. I want to know if they fall in love and walk hand-in-hand into the sunset together.
- Did Char end up being a total loser and living a life of loneliness? Because that what he deserves. Jerkface.