Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, "This Song Will Save Your Life," by Leila Sales, is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to save lives and bring people together.
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.
This Song Will Save Your Life, a YA book by Leila Sales, is especially interesting to me. Why? It has DJing action, and I used to be a DJ a long, long time ago. Not the same, though, since I spun real vinyl, and measuring BPMs (Beats Per Minute) was by hand. I remember the excitement of getting a new LP and studying each song. I'd figure out the BPM and what other songs jived with it. Yeah, it was quite the craft back in the day.
Nowadays, DJing is all about using computers -they do the BPM, they can auto-mix, and the mixing is done with MP3 or FLAC files. It removes some crafty things we did in the past for something more practical. Yet, with all this advancement in technology, human DJs are still needed to make the perfect mix. You can't just throw two songs together and do an auto-mix. Nope. DJIng is easier, but it's still a craft.
But enough about DJing! Let's talk about This Song Will Save Your Life. For starters, the beginning of this novel is quite a downer and slow-paced. It's all about "I'm alone," "nobody likes me," and whatnot. I almost quit reading it! But if you are patient enough, the story finally starts when Elise meets Vicky, Pippa, and Char. And there you go, DJing and more adventures. Now, our protagonist, Elise, is sixteen years old, yet she sneaks into a dance club, and no one really cares she's underage. I found this a bit jarring, because I was a DJ at sixteen, too, but I couldn't get into the clubs. Of course, it was another time, but still... Also, she gets into DJing too easily, like, she sort of mixes one song -not knowing what she's doing- and then she gets an offer to DJ because "she's that good."
The first time I tried to mix it was a total disaster, a cacophony of sounds, and a horrible mess of rhythms. It takes a lot of practice just to mix two songs. Anyway, a DJ does train Elise, and she gets better, etc. But here's another suspension-of-disbelief problem: Elise sneaks out of her house constantly, and the parents don't notice? I find that hard to believe.
But not everything is lost! Elise grows as a character, finds herself, makes friends and the like, and in the end, happiness reigns for everyone. Happily ever after for the world, yay? Maybe too much.
Overall, a good novel with some problems, but it did keep me entertained. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Cover photo: @ravegirls_official
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