Title – Author: This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Format – Source: Hardcover – Bought
Elise Dembowski has never fit in. The popular kids ridicule her and the rest of her school ignores her. When she stumbles upon a warehouse dance party, she thinks she may have finally found her place. She actually has friends: Vicky, the talented singer; Pippa, the beautiful girl who likes to have fun; and Char, the handsome DJ. But most importantly, she finds a passion for DJing.
I’m about to make a big claim here. A really big claim. Like something I would never condone under normal circumstances, something so bold that it happens once in a blue moon on this blog. What is it, you ask? WHAT IS IT?
Leila Sales may be the next Sarah Dessen.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that Sarah Dessen is the end all, be all of contemporary YA for me. Even when I find new contemporary authors to love, like Gayle Forman, I still have never said one will be the next SD for me. Leila Sales somehow writes in just the way I love when it comes to contemporary YA and here’s why.
A strong, unique voice. From the first page, I immediately felt like I knew Elise. Her voice was just that loud from the beginning. She felt real and fully realized, her narrative the strongest I’ve read in a long time.
A relatable main character. Everything Elise said I felt like I was saying myself. Everyone, literally everyone, has felt like they don’t belong at some point in their life. While I’ve never been bullied as terribly as Elise is in the book, I understand how she can feel like no one gets her. I felt for her when she tried so hard to fit in with her classmates, trying to mold herself into something she’s not. How she felt ashamed and guilty for liking what she likes.
A story that isn’t about the romance. While many of Sarah Dessen’s stories include a romantic element, I would never say that the romance is the whole point. Her stories are about growing up, finding your place, understanding yourself better, and that’s exactly the kind of story TSWSYL is. Elise finds something that she loves, something that she’s passionate about, and by pursuing it, she discovers a confidence she never knew she had. She finds people she can relate to, people she can share things with, people who are proud of her and excited for her when something good happens. Elise’s story isn’t about the boy. She’s the star here.
An ending that resonates for days after. I’m just going to leave this quote here, because it’s the perfect ending. One that reminds me of The Truth About Forever.
I know I’ve made a lot of Sarah Dessen comparisons, but the truth is Leila Sales stands on her own as one of the freshest voices in contemporary YA I’ve seen in ages. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
9 – seriously great – Sirius Black