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)
Source: Via Netgalley/Farrar, Straus and Giroux/MacMillan for an honest review
Well, Elise. Elise is unpopular. She’s so unpopular, she has no friends and hasn’t for years. She’s lonely and she’s bullied. Not only is she bullied, but she has no idea how other people function, how they are “normal” when she feels anything but. She wants to fit in, though, so Elise has made a plan to be liked by others so she doesn’t have to be alone anymore. It backfires on her and she then decides that she’s tired of being constantly, relentlessly bullied and maybe she’ll just kill herself. Months later, she’s still alive and still struggling, but she’s also still being bullied, when she stumbles upon a secret dance club and this is when she finally starts to feel like she’s somewhat normal, not invisible, not the butt of the joke. She’s drawn into this world by these strangers and she becomes a part of it and she finds herself drawn to not only the people, but her precociousness has led her to the fine art of DJing, where she excels.
Oh, Elise has no idea what she’s doing, but she’s finally functioning on the same level as everyone else. She’s no longer desperate to fit in, but she’s found her niche and she starts to feel better about herself. Then one day, she finds out that someone has been posing as her online and it seems like she cannot drag herself out of other people’s perceptions of her. What if they’re right?
This is a hard review to write. There’s so much I don’t want to say because I don’t want to give anything away and also, the feelings this book elicited are so personal. No, I’ve never thought of killing myself, but for a long time I didn’t have friends, either, and I wonder how I survived the elementary school years. I know what it’s like to be excluded and laughed at for no reason other having the guts to be yourself. So I felt for Elise on that level. But also, as a parent, I was so frustrated and angry for her but also for myself and her parents because, what can you do? I felt very impotent on her behalf. I want to make clear that this book is in no way depressing or dark. It was actually very light-hearted and uplifting. It was funny, too. I loved it & powered through it pretty quickly. Elise tried to change herself so that other people would see her as normal, but when she found something that made her unique, she flourished. I loved the message of this book. Also, there is some romance, but I don’t want to talk about it because I feel that it was incidental to her story. It was important because it helped Elise to come out of her shell, but it’s not what made her succeed in the end, and I loved that.