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Review : This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Posted by on September 8, 2013 12:54 pm in 4 stars reads | 4 comments

This Song Will Save Your LifeThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Pages : 288
Genre :  YA, Contemporary fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating : 4/5

From the back of the book  :

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.

My Thoughts :

This novel wasn’t what I had anticipated. I came in expecting music, quirky friends, a few secrets, a crush; and while I did get all that, I also got so much more! With themes such as bullying and suicide, This Song Will Save Your Life turned our to be about much more than music and fun. A surprising depth I truly appreciated.

From the start, it is really easy to relate to Elise. Whether you have been through what she has lived through or not, you can’t help but feel for her and feel this urgency to make something happen, to help her. Elise’s reactions to her bullying were so realistic, too, which made it all the more easy to connect with her.

Coming in I also expected a romance for Elise, a gorgeous guy who would come in and make her see how wonderful she is and forever change her life. And while that isn’t a bad story in itself, I was really glad the author chose not to take this route. Sure enough, Elise does meet a guy on who she crushes hard, and they do form some sort of relationship. Fortunately though, the romance wasn’t the focus here. I thought it made the story more original and realistic, but also gave it a stronger message; Elise doesn’t rely on him to get better, but shapes her own new life. I do believe we need more independant female characters in YA novels.

I surprisingly don’t have much to say about this novel, other than I really liked it! I thought it dealt with its themes with honesty and care, and offered hope and entertainment at the same time. I liked Elise, how she wasn’t perfect and how real she was, and I thought the ending was exactly as it should have been. I also liked her family and her new friends, and I thought the writing was good, too.

This Song Will Save Your Life was one of my favorite YA contemporary novels this year, and one I believe many readers will appreciate and relate to. I first loved its cover, but was even more pleasantly surprised with the story hidden under! This was my second Leila Sales novel and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next. Consider me a fan!

This Song Will Save Your Life will be available for sale on September 17! Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for generously providing a copy of the book for this review!

Wordless Wednesday : A Hint of Paris

Posted by on September 4, 2013 3:20 am in My work | 6 comments

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I am only starting to go through the thousands of pictures I took in Paris, but here is a first taste of what I loved in Paris; I’ll be back soon with more!
For more Wordless Wednesday, click here!

Review : The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

Posted by on September 3, 2013 12:36 pm in 2.5 stars reads | 4 comments

the truth about you and meThe Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace
Pages : 229
Genre :  YA, Contemporary fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating : 2,5/5

From the back of the book  :

Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she’s so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennett. He’s cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she’s endured – and missed out on – in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she’s falling in love. There’s only one problem. Bennett is Madelyn’s college professor, and he thinks she’s eighteen – because she hasn’t told him the truth. The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennett – both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

My Thoughts :

The Truth About You and Me was a weird reading experience, to be perfectly honest. I read it on the train in France in almost one sitting, not because I was bored or out of choices (that’s the plus with ereaders; you can always have a complete library wherever you go!), but because I was completely hooked on the story. And yet, while I enjoyed the reading, there were many aspects of the book that left me disappointed and annoyed.

Most of all, the foreshadowing in the book was a bit too much. It’s true that the book’s format sorts of plays into that; since Madelyn is telling her story after it happened, to the guy who ended up being the “victim” of it all, it makes sense that she would hint at the ending and express how sorry she is. However, from a reader’s point of view, it made the experience a little heavy and much more predictable. In a book that is more character-driven and where little happens, I felt that the hinting at “what would happen” was a little heavy.

It didn’t help that I had a hard time warming up to Madelyn. She made a lot of wrong decisions for a smart kid, which I guess reinforces the point that : she is just a kid, and this relationship certainly wasn’t meant to be.

I feel like their love story wasn’t one – not on her part, anyway. I’m sure she thought she was in love, and there certainly was an attraction between them, but in the end I felt like their relationship wasn’t about love. There is so much focus on how much pressure she is under from her parents, that it is really, really hard to believe her falling for an older guy isn’t about rebelling against them. Maybe not on a conscious level, but certainly it played a huge part into it. I’m not sure how intentional that was from the author though, because Madelyn never really admits to this, even when looking back on it. Maybe if we heard from her 5, 10 years later, her point of view would have changed? I don’t know, really, but it certainly raised some interesting questions.

I will say, the author did a good job on creating a hook that would keep me reading. I did want to know how everything would end, especially for Bennett. I also thought it was interesting to have the story be about blurred lines, whether it is about age or about Bennett being in a position of authority. Everything wasn’t so simple, and Madelyn lying about her age definitely changed the game. I’m guessing many readers would have very different opinions on the situation, making it a really good book for discusison.

In the end, The Truth About You and Me was a bit better than I had expected. While the characters and some of the writing had me rolling my eyes, the story kept me reading and I liked how it concluded. And while the format (letters written from one character to the other, after the facts) isn’t unique, it’s a nice enough change from the usual types of narration we get in contemporary YA.

The Truth About You and Me will be available for sale on September 8! Thanks to Flux for generously providing a copy of the book for this review!

Filling the Shelf – 115

Posted by on September 2, 2013 1:55 am in Book talk | 11 comments

Filling the Shelf is basically Mailbox Monday or the more recent Stacking the Shelves, but with a title that suits my blog! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, I invite you to visit the two hosts!

Happy Monday everyone!

It’s September already, which means fall is just around the corner! It’s my favorite season, and I’ll be happy to leave the very hot summer days behind (I know, I know; that’s not the most popular point of view, but I know there are at least a few others who share my preferences!)

Some new books in my mailbox this week; exciting as always, since I have read some quite fabulous reviews of The Universe Versus Alex Woods, and The Humans looks quite original!


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The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence / The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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The Humans by Matt Haig / Kiss me First by Lottie Moggach

What did you add to your shelves recently?