Generally, I write reviews in about 15 minutes. The words flow out of my head straight onto my computer screen.
Today, I’ve been staring at my computer for about 30 minutes and I have nothing. (Well now I have these two sentences.)
How do I write a review that does justice to a book that I loved so much? How do I convince EVERYONE to read this book, without resorting to violent means? I don’t know - but the best I can do is to start writing and hope that everyone who reads this (and likes YA books) will pick this one up.
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales starts off as any other dramatic YA book does.
It’s Elise’s story and Elise is a teenager who struggles with being “normal”. She is an overachiever, she is too intelligent for her classmates and she doesn’t dress in the latest fashion. Because she can’t be normal, she doesn’t have any friends and she becomes desperate. At the start of the book, she cuts herself and then calls a popular girl and tells her - the famous “attention attempt at suicide”. This girl panics and calls 911 - obviously Elise’s parents, who are divorced, go into panic mode.
They make sure that Elise is never alone again so that she has no opportunity to cut herself. But Elise needs alone time and finds it by sneaking out at night and walking around while listening to music.
Pretty bland, right? Until Elise finds Start - an underground club in a warehouse, filled with cool kids and banging music. Here Elise finds something she never knew she was looking for.
To find out what that is, you really need to read the book!
So the summary might not sound all too different from many other YA books, and I guess the plot line of the story isn’t, but the characterisation definitely is.
Elise is more than just a typical unpopular teenager - instead of being ruled by a million insecurities, she’s actually pretty confident in her own abilities and skills. She knows what she can and cannot do - she just doesn’t understand why no one likes her. This made me like Elise so much more than the many whiny female leads in YA books - she’s a girl with balls and not afraid to show them. Not a Bella waiting on Edward.
Furthermore, all of Elise's Start friends, Charm, Pippa, Mel and especially Vicky, have real personalities. They are not just some characters on the sideline of Elise’s story: they read as real people with real issues and real problems. I can imagine a book about each of them, because I know enough about them, even though they are just “side-characters”.
Added to that, the story flows really well and the pace is good. It’s quick - something happens every chapter and you will not get bored reading this story.
To top it all of, there is a list with the most awesome songs at the end of the story. The perfect soundtrack if you want to enjoy the book a bit more after reading it. (I just checked 8tracks and no one made that playlist yet?! Someone who understands 8tracks, please get on that!)