You think it’s so easy to change yourself.
You think it’s so easy, but it’s not.
Published in October 2013 by Macmillan Children’s Books.
Pages - 276
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.
With a cracking first line as shown above, I knew instantly that this book was about to make a big impact on me and I wasn’t wrong. It’s the kind of book, you want to keep hugging and gushing about, because it’s so beautiful. It’s the type of book that will always hold a special place in your heart and find itself in pride of place on your bookshelves.
If you haven’t worked it out yet – I LOVED THIS BOOK! I loved it so much, I had to give myself a severe talking to, so that I didn’t rush back to read it again straight away. I’m seriously not kidding when I say this book will melt your heart. If John Hughes, still graced this Earth, he wouldn’t think twice about snapping up this story and making it into a classic film. It screams out to be produced into a movie.
Why do I love it so much?
Well, firstly we have Elise, who is the main character of the story. From her words, you get a real sense of who she is and her state of mind. Elise takes an emotional journey that sinks rather low, before rising higher and higher. You watch as she smashes her cocoon and embraces the world as a strong, confident and vibrant social butterfly. Anyone who has ever been bullied, teased, ignored or forgotten during their high school years will be able to identify with Elise. She feels she has no one fighting in her corner. Until she stumbles upon her very own Wonderland! Start is a secret warehouse party, and Elise discovers she can truly be herself when she is there. She stops being Elise, the most unpopular girl at school, and becomes DJ Elise, the hottest, youngest DJ around.
Elise’s home life doesn’t really help her state of mind. Even though she doesn’t moan about it, you get the feeling she doesn’t really belong anywhere. Splitting her time between her mother’s new family and her dad’s bachelor pad, it feels like the rest of her family have moved on without her. Her parents got divorced, yet they didn’t really consider the effect it would have on Elise, as she split her week between her parent’s new lives.
The story embraces the power of music, with every chapter peppered with excellent song choices for you to rush off and listen to. Elise and Char live their lives in tune with the music, their moods defined by what they listen to. At the back of the book, the author has provided an excellent list of songs for you to get your teeth into.
The book captures all the the wonderful elements of the John Hughes era. The unpopular kids finding where they belong; the innocent falling in and out of love; the music that heralded that era. I could see elements of Pretty In Pink, Girls Just Want to Have and Coyote Ugly all emerging within the story.
At times this book will make you laugh, as well as cry. It really is a beautiful read that needs to be read by all teenagers. This is one of the best contemporary novels I’ve read this year. It sits hand in hand with If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.
This book is perfect in every way.