This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, published October 2013 by Macmillan Children’s Books.
Goodreads Synopsis: All her life, Elise Dembowski has been an outsider. Starting a new school, she dreams of fitting in at last – but when her best attempts at popularity fail, she almost gives up. Then she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. There, at night, Elise can be a different person, making real friends, falling in love for the first time, and finding her true passion – DJ’ing.
But when her real and secret lives collide, she has to make a decision once and for all: just who is the real Elise?
The Book Review
I had heard a lot of buzz about this book a few years ago, but never got around to reading it. I needed a quick read to kick start my reading for 2018, and this seemed like the perfect choice.
I didn’t realise that this was an “issues” novel before picking it up, so what I thought was going to be a sweet contemporary actually turned into a reasonably intense book with a strong mental health theme, which was handled so well. There was a positive lack of cliches, no teen romance “fixed” the main character, and she worked through her issues in her own way to overcome them. *Applause*
There is a lot of diversity in this novel *bonus points* and the cast of characters are great – from the slightly more morally grey ones (Char), to the confused and love-sick teens who hopefully grow out of it (Pippa), to the ones who have the main character’s back (Vicky), and even the very funny security guy at the pop-up nightclub “Start”, I appreciated them all. They were well written, realistic, and fleshed out, which isn’t all that common in YA contemporaries.
That isn’t where the uncommon elements of YA contemporaries ends either – some of the teens in this novel curse (because that happens IRL), the main character is not perfect nor is she trying to be, there are (divorced but) present parents, there is no love triangle *Yay!*, and there is some reasonably tame sexual experimentation that is not treated like the start of a life-long romance, or a sinful act. This book is #winning.
Overall, this is a story that I became invested in quickly, and I read it pretty much in one sitting. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to read more novels on mental health, or to anyone trying to get out of a reading rut.
Have you read This Song Will Save Your Life? What did you think? Would you recommend other Sales novels? Let me know in the comments!