Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Song Will Save Your Life: Leila Sales

Goodreads Synopsis:
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together

*I can't tell you how much of a mess this review is, but I am posting another review in March that has my full feelings and details, but this what a 'feels' review is, so if you're stopping by Loving the Language of Literacy for the first time, please don't think every review is like this*

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I present to you my first ever "Language of Love" review for the fantabulous, the exquisite, the incredible This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. According to my 'Blog Features' page, and yes I did have to look up what I wrote 
"Language of Love: The un-edited, or feels review is when I sit down right after I finish the book for a solid period of time, non-stop writing down my opinions, until I can't write anymore. This will be somewhat like an author's challenge where they force themselves to write for an hour without interruption. It could be a rant, it could be expressing all the feels, or anything like that, and the reason it's called un-edited is because that's what it will be, un-edited without any grammar check, all raw emotions. This is my personal favorite review because I hate spellchecking, and editing, so a lot less work for me."
Where do  I start with this book? Well, last Monday, I tweeted asking "What book should I read?
The winner of my twitter pole by a landslide was This Song Will Save Your Life, and I can definitely see why. The thing about this week, was that it was one of the hardest I have had in a long time, a lot of pressure, a lot of late nights, a lot of crying happened this week. Wednesday Night and Friday afternoon were some of the worst of my life. One of the many reasons I had been upset was because of not being able to read or blog the entire week. So I started This Song Will Save Your Life and didn't finish it until Saturday morning. Another thing about this book was that I had read the first 20 pages beforehand in Vromans book store about two weeks before, so I had thought I had already made my first impressions. I had heard a lot of buzz about this book from the blogging community. The first 20 pages made me think the book didn't live up to the hype it was given, that it was just an average contemporary novel. Thankfully, my impression of that changed drastically when reading this. One of the things you may or may not know about me is that besides reading, writing, and running, my greatest love and thing I'm passionate about is music, which is ironic since I can't sing or play any instruments. I have gotten into music over the past two years, and now consider myself as having a pretty eclectic taste. I will listen to alternative, pop, country, classical, rock, a little jazz, and some other genres. So this book was basically written for me. 

Elise Dembowski is one of the most relatable contemporary characters I have ever read about, and seen the world through. I am attracted to Young Adult Science Fiction and Dystopian novels because of the characters being larger than life. So Elise was a bit different for me to read about. The reason why I didn't like her as much in the beginning is because the book opens up with soppy sob stories (alliteration!) about Elise's past as an unpopular, uncool high school sophmore, and how she had changed herself, and that she was going to be different this year, and everybody would like her. The plot seemed, classic, cliché, everything Disney Channel Original Movies prey on. But after reading more, I quickly learned that it was nothing like that. Elise was no ordinary girl, which is one of the biggest conflicts there is in this book. She doesn't fit into the mold, she can't be sculpted, picked at, and plucked to become what people want her to be, including herself. I remember thinking in my mind once I got to know Elise a little more that everyone talks about their book boyfriends, who makes them swoon, who made their pulse race. No one ever talks  about who they would want their book best friends to be. While everyone is busy saying "Team Peeta," "Team Gale," "Team Edward," "Team Jacob," who is holding up the signs saying "Team Katniss," "Team June," "Team Tris," "Team Clary," "Team Hermione"? Well I'm here to say that I'm holding up my sign for "Team Elise"! As any teenager in the 21st century, I have to either conform to societies whims or be strong enough to carve out my own path, and be able to stand up for myself as someone who has her own voice and is her own person. I am very thankful my school isn't as cut throat as Elise's where there are the cliché High School Cliques, but there is that unspoken line that people have crossed, and once they do, there seems to be no going back. I am not like my friends, I don't have a tiger mom forcing me to do math workbooks, I don't have parents that will stay up with me until 3am to study for a 10 question science quiz, I don't have parents who force me to do piano recitals, and writing classes on the weekends. By the majority of my grade's definition, I am not normal. I love reading, I love writing, I love running, I love public speaking, I love doing things outside the box. My friends are very accepting, but in Elise's story, people aren't. Leila Sales touches and drabbles on a wide variety of topics in modern contemporary novels. Bullying. Depression. Individuality. Freedom. Elise is so relatable, and although at some points of her story, I was a bit annoyed, I honestly can't blame her because I know that I would have reacted the same way, said the same thing, done the same thing. At the beginning of Sophomore year, Elise makes three cuts on her wrist with an exacto knife. Eight months later, she has no real friends, no people to understand who she is, no one to talk to. When Elise finds the underground nightclub, "Start", everything changes. She's welcomed with open arms into a place where she could be whoever she wanted to be, but more importantly, a place where she can be who she is. She knows bands and music all the way back to the 60s, so Start is the perfect place for her. In that environment, no one cares what you have done, no one cares what you're going to do, all they care about is the now, and getting lost in the music, all their energy flowing into one being. 

At the same time, Elise isn't the classic Laurie Halse Anderson character either, because while she has quote unquote (I finally learned it wasn't 'quote and quote') deep thoughts, and wisdom, she isn't the kind of person that wants to sit around and ponder the universe. What Elise wants, as do we all, is pure acceptance. She's not asking for the perfect body, to be the head cheerleader, or to be president of student council. She's asking for people, even a single person to love, accept, and understand her for who she is. 

This Song Will Save Your Life is a reminder of why I love to read. I remember reading a quote once that said, "When you're a teenager, everything you read and heard affects you and makes an impact on who you are."  and I believe that above all, this book tops the cake. It's different than anything I have ever read, full or raw and real emotion.

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