Thursday, February 27, 2014

Top Titles of 2013: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I read a lot of books in 2013 and didn't get a chance to blog about them. Over the next while I'll be sharing with you my favorites.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

It’s impossible to change who you are, but sometimes, if you just listen to the voice inside you, the song will save your life.

After a failed attempt to assimilate with the high school masses, 16-year-old Elise Dumbowski contemplates suicide. Only to have that backfire as well.  Alone and lonely, she stumbles upon an underground dance club while walking around one night to clear her head.  At the club she finds more than friendship.  Standing behind the turntables, she finds her passion, talent, and ultimately, herself.

This book had me at hello. Elise’s dry humour and pragmatic approach to life are a winning combination.  Her voice is honest, funny and rings 100% authentic. She is a character that will connect with teen readers, wherever their place in the high school hierarchy.  A thoughtfully drawn cast of secondary characters including parents and siblings who aren’t invisible,  classmates who range from cruel to well-meaning to un-noticed and dance club kids rounds out this character-driven novel.

Insightful writing that encapsulates big ideas in simple ways drives the novel forward and keeps the reader looking to Elise as a source for humor and honesty. I was struck by passages like:

 “...Sometimes when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry.” (p.12) 
“Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe they’re right.” (p. 241) 
“But you know better than anyone else how the Internet sees everything and nothing, all at the same time.” (p. 262)
And the music! Not only do the songs and bands mentioned throughout the novel make you want to put together an iTunes playlist to put yourself in the club with Elise (even when you don’t know the song or the artist), but a list “Recommended Listening” is included after the acknowledgments that gives a full listing of title and artist to get interested readers started.

If I had to file one small complaint it would be "LOVE" is spelled out in pink on the cover.  It totally doesn't fit the book (I mean, it's about learning to love yourself, yes, but the pink LOVE makes it look like a cheesy romance), and may turn off some prospective readers.

There's some language and brief sexy times, making this generally a choice for teens 14+.

This Song Will Save Your Life was recognized as a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection.

The LibrariYAn is an Amazon Associate. If you click from links on this blog to Amazon and buy something (anything!), I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

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