This Song Will Save Your Life

Elise is a loner, but not by her choice. Through no fault of her own, she has no friends. She’s precocious, and she can teach herself anything, except being popular. Entering tenth grade, she tries to give herself a makeover and start again with friends, but none of it works, because it’s not as easy as it seems in books.

So she cuts her wrist, but that’s not what the book is about. She calls for help, she recovers, and then six months later, she discovers an underground dance party in a warehouse plus Pippa and Vicky, girls who love good music as much as she does. The DJ, Char, compliments her for “not pretending to be anything you’re not”, her best skill. She can’t, even if she tries.

Thankfully, Dad works in a music store, so when the DJ bug hits Elise, he gives her turntables and time to practice. He also appreciates books and music. “If I want to spend all night trying to transition between songs without leaving a gap in the music, then my dad spends all night alphabetizing his record collection, and we are both content,” Elise thinks. Her newly acquired skills give her a new world, one she enjoys, even though her older friends have more complicated problems than the high schoolers.

Since I’m a firm believer that the right band can change your life, I really enjoyed this tale of finding a place where you made sense. Her dad is right when he tells Elise that her grade level isn’t ready for someone like her yet, but that doesn’t make getting through it any easier, and Leila Sales does a great job of showing that. Extraordinary is fun to read about, but it’s hard to be. Give this to the exceptional, lonely kid in your life. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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