In this debut novel by Leila Sales, sixteen-year-old Elise Dembowski is invisible most of the time and taunted the other times. A driven teenager, she spent the summer reading teen and fashion magazines, listening to gossip, learning how to dress and what to talk about, all in the hopes that come September she’d fit in, have friends. However, on the first day of school, nothing has changed, so she left early, went home and feebly attempted suicide by slitting her wrists. Sitting in the bathroom bleeding through a bandage she put on, she called a girl she wanted to be friends with, Amelia Kindl, who immediately called 911, which started a chain of events including therapy.
Fast forward seven months and Elise (still nothing has changed), who splits her time between her divorced parents’ houses, finds it hard to sleep so she sneaks out at night to walk the neighborhood. One night two girls beckon her over, thinking she was looking for the dance club, Start. Following them inside, Elise is in awe and, getting introduced to the DJ, realizes that’s something she would love to do.
I must say that This Song Will Save Your Life reminded me a bit of Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, which I really liked (young misfit teen finds something she’s passionate about but is too young to pursue it without parental consent). Readers will immediately like Elise and feel her pain. They’ll also like Vicki (read the book to find out who she is). They’ll understand Elise’s desire for recognition, acceptance, friends and her inability, at times, to recognize who her friends really are. Sales is a talented writer and if this book is any indication, I can’t wait for her next book. It’s a fun story on a serious issue.
And….there’s a bonus; a playlist at the back of the book. So, now I’m off to find some CDs with songs mentioned on the playlist.