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review 2015-10-31 18:49
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales

I really enjoyed this YA contemporary. It was light, fun and full of a great mix of characters, not to mention the fact that it helped reawaken my love for music.


The story is told from the P.O.V of Elise, a smart and funny sixteen year-old who is trying her hardest to become popular at school. She’s sick of constantly wandering the halls of her high school on her own and wants friends to share her school days with. When we meet her she’s studying-up on all things mainstream, like fashion and pop-culture. She hopes that if she learns all this stuff she’ll finally be able to join in with her peers. In actuality Elise hates all things mainstream and would far rather be hanging out in her grungy clothes, listening to the Muse. Elise’s dislike of all things mainstream is one of the reasons I liked her. I’m not one for anything mainstream myself and would much rather be listening to some metal with big chunky riffs and blistering guitar solos. You’ll never catch me in a pair of heels either, for that matter! Screw style, I go for comfort! It’s easy for me to say these things though, I’m not stuck in the drudgery of school life like Elise is. She just wants the loneliness to stop and is prepared to sacrifice who she really is to make it so.I don’t want to give too much of the story away so I’ll just say that things don’t quite work out like Elise had planned, but she accidentally stumbles on something even better.


For such a short book, a lot was covered. A lot of issues were touched upon, such as loneliness, bullying, love, but the central issue was identity and how self-abandonment is so often pursued, but ultimately results in an inauthentic life. So many of us are uncomfortable in our own skin and strive towards something we’re not just to fit in. What this showed is that once we accept who we are, life becomes infinitely easier and more fun.


I would have loved it if this went into a little more depth and expanded on some themes. A little less directness would also have been appreciated as, at times, it felt like things were being shoved in the readers face. I guess what I’m trying to say is a bit more show rather than tell would have been good. Another great choice, though, if you want something light.

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review 2015-10-10 01:32
This Song Will Save Your Life
This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales

I think the most amazing thing about this book is how many personal stories it's inspired to be written by reviewers on GR and Booklikes. It's just as heartbreakingly realistic as I thought it would be, and although I wasn't a bullied kid in school, I think the story of trying to find your identity, of trying all your life to follow the rules only to find out that the key to life is making your own rules, is about the closest to a universal human experience anything can possibly get.

Sometimes, in spite of all my bookish tendencies, I forget why I even read in the first place. Then I realize that I don't really have to search that hard, because any story, if it's well and authentically told, has the power to resonate with many different types of people regardless of what your literary preferences are. This is one of those books.

Other than that, I think everything that could possibly be said about this book has already been said.

Ok, apparently not! One criticism I've seen for this book is Elise's hypocrisy as a first person narrator. Personally, I saw that as what happens when there is too much of a disparity between the way others perceive you and the way you perceive yourself. The knowledge of knowing deep down that you're a worthwhile human being, conflicting with the environment that's constantly trying to tear you down. Of course Elise is going to look down on her schoolmates even as she craves her acceptance, because that's how the zero-sum games of school environments tend to work. There's no room to realize who you are until you find that room for yourself. And Elise does, ultimately in a way I think is pretty realistic and inspiring as coming-of-age stories go...

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review 2015-07-29 11:13
Review | This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales

Elise is naturally precocious. She loves to challenge herself with massive projects and she succeeded with almost all of them. But, she failed at the most important project of them all.

Elise was going to make herself popular. With a whole summer ahead of her, endless ambition and a burning desire to be anyone but herself, she launched into this project with more zeal and determination than any other. But all of her preparation was for nothing. Apparently, it is not so easy to change yourself, especially if you are loser destined to be perpetually tormented, teased, and taunted by everyone you meet. 
This loser was sick and tired of being a loser and would go to extreme measures to ensure that she would not have to endure another day being the most hated person in the world. 

Through those extreme measures, Elise finds herself outside an indie warehouse party. The music is great, the boys are cute, and no one knows her as loser Elise. Without the pressure of being herself, Elise might just find everything she was looking for.


I went into this book thinking it would be an upbeat novel about partying and good music. While there was plenty of both,this story went so much deeper than I ever imagined. 
The first 50 pages were a roller-coaster that I did not anticipate. The story quickly plunged into issues that I did not think were going to be part of the story. I was caught by surprise, and I loved it.
As far-fetched as the summary may sound (I mean stumbling on a random underground music club is not exactly probable) the story felt real. Life was not glamorized in the story. The raw truth was thrown at you without the usual sugarcoating that seems to be sprinkled on everything. Elise and her struggles were understandable, heart-breaking, and if I say so, hit really close to home for me. 
This Song Will Save Your Life advertises itself as a music book, and it certainly delivers. I have learned about so many new bands just from reading this book and I intend to look them up. I was also thrilled by the playlist included at the end of the book. I am still working through all of the songs, but the feel of the playlist reflects the book perfectly.
What this book does not advertise is the other main focus of the book--the struggles to learning to love yourself. I will warn you, the book does get pretty dark at some points. But these parts emphasized the whole meaning of the book--love yourself for who you are, not who everyone else wants you to be. This book shares the secrets on how to love yourself through the power of a sarcastic yet lovable main character who goes through the struggles of life with only the friend of music to guide her.
And just when you think that the book has reached its peak of awesomeness, a couple of completely amazing friendships are thrown into the mix. Even though they do not start off looking like it, these tender relationships have dubious starts, but blossom into something worth working for. The family dynamics are also pretty great and detailed. It was good to see that the main character actually has a family for a change, no matter how dysfunctional it is.
On the other hand, the romance in this book is iffy. Elise is obviously distressed and I know all about those cliches where the naive, younger girl falls for the experienced and talented older boy. I really did not have to see it again in this book. The beginning of their relationship was all kinds of cliche and overdone, but it was the ending that surprised me. It was a bit risky on Sales' part, but completely worth it to the reader. The romance was not exactly my cup of tea, but I loved how the relationship ended up. 
I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who is currently struggling with who they are. Or to anyone who has ever felt alone, worthless, or just plain invisible. This book will prove you wrong in ways you will never anticipate. 
I would also recommend it to music lovers. Songs and musicians are a huge part of this story and it is amazing to see it put into the spotlight.
See the original review to join in the discussion and leave your thoughts about the book.


Source: 4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/07/review-this-song-will-save-your-life-by.html
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quote 2015-06-10 02:35
The thing about being an artist is that there are always going to be people who want to stop you from doing your art. But this usually says more about them and their issues that it does about your and your art.
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quote 2015-06-10 02:33
You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not. True, things don't stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes scarred. And with each of these moments you range change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions- but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always you: beautiful, and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn't that- just you- enough?
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