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. – Goodreads
I’m a big believer in judging books by their covers. And while this one appealed to me visually, it didn’t really scream my sort of book. For starters, there’s the pink and purple… not really my colour scheme. I’m more a black and chrome gal. Then there’s the fact that “love” is highlighted… I’m not a cheesy YA romance chick, either.
But I’d read some favourable reviews – a few that said the book was a pleasant surprise and not at all what you’d expect. So I gave it a try. And they were right – it wasn’t what I expected.
This is a book about a loner. An outcast. A girl who not only has no friends and doesn’t fit in at school, but who is mercilessly bullied, made fun of and tormented by… well, pretty much everyone. High school is a baffling place, and for some it is beyond comprehension. Elise Dembowski is one of those who can’t get the hang of being a teenager. She doesn’t understand what she should say, what she should wear or what she should do. But there’s one thing she does understand – music.
Elise is the daughter of a musician and went to her first concert at 8 months of age. Music, unlike life, is something she not only gets, but that seems to get her. As she becomes part of an underground dance scene that holds the keys to her self-expression and the first real friends she’s ever had, she discovers there is something she’s good at. Really good at. DJing. And so a whole new life begins for Elise, one where she not only fits in – she rules.
While some plot points of the book weren’t entirely realistic, overall I enjoyed it – but more importantly, I found it evocative. It took me right back to the frustration of being the victim, of being bullied and helpless, knowing that if you go to an adult that’ll only make it worse, but that anything you do yourself will also make it worse. This is the reality of bullying and teen cruelty that most adults don’t really want to admit – the reality that sometimes, you just have to suck it up and make it to graduation. And sure, it gets better, but that doesn’t make it any easier at the time.
At the end of the day, high school, like life, is full of ups and downs – usually more of the latter. But the ups are magical, the things we learned about ourselves during those years will endure in our outlook on the world for the rest of our lives. And, if we’re lucky, we find out who we want to be.
Oh, and the books comes with a suggested soundtrack – so make sure to read the last (2) pages first!
Author: Leila Sales
Published by: Farrar Straus Giraux
Released: September 17, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Outcast, Music, DJ
Date Read: October 5-8, 2013
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