Author: Leila Sales.
Published: September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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.
I don’t read many contemporaries. There are several reasons for that, but after seeing many positive reviews I was too curious. This also happened with John Green – The fault in our stars and since that book was a huge success for me, I decided to give this one a shot. It’s fun to branch out every now and then and I am so happy I did it. This story touched me on an emotional and personal level. I must admit that it was a bit.. tough sometimes, but I love the message this book contains.
I’m sorry that there is such a personal touch in this review. I don’t want it to be all about ‘me’, but this had to be said.
“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all-new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? They will still see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, still too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always, wrong. Change all you want: you can’t change that. I know, because I tried.”
Elise is an outsider. A lonely girl who struggles with her identity, because all she wants is to belong somewhere. To be someone. She even tries to change herself, her clothing and her interests, but nothing works. People pick on her and after a cry for help, she is even more shunned than before. That is until she meets Pippa and Vicky on a midnight stroll. They introduce her to the party world of Start, where she soon has the opportunity to DJ together with Char. Elise finally has a feeling she fits; she has found her place in life.
“I didn’t need to be the most exciting, beautiful, beloved girl in the world. I just needed not to be me anymore.”
I had a very strong feeling at the beginning of this book. The whole situation of being lonely and trying to change yourself comes close to a period in my life where I wasn’t in a happy place in school. I was a shy, insecure child while growing up, I didn’t have many friends and people were so unkind about the way I looked. I know exactly how Elise felt. The fact that she starts to feel happy and comfortable with herself by music is something I can identify with; I had the same things with reading.
There were also a couple of things she does that are unfamiliar for me, but it wasn’t hard to understand her behaviour. I must admit that it made the middle part a little less interesting, but it was still good and strong. It was fun to read Elise’s voice, because she is so smart, strong and sweet. It was also fantastic to see how she develops into someone who is proud of herself - and that too reminded me of myself. You can see, Elise is a very relatable character I think everyone can connect with.
The ending is again a part where this book shined. The message in this book is something we need to see more. It touched me and gave me the feeling that: yes, I need to be proud of myself and yes, I need to stop feeling insecure. This book is definitely a feel-good story at the end and I highly recommend to read it.
“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. True, things don’t stay the same forever. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions – but always at last is returns to you. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn’t that – just you- enough?”