Book Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Posted October 2, 2013 by Debby in Reviews / 12 Comments

Book Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on September 17th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

5 Stars

This Song Will Save Your Life is a book I dearly wish I had when I was growing up. Though it has its darker moments, it’s extremely true to life that way. I saw so much of myself in the story that it was quite confrontational. And in the end, it’s the kind of book that makes you think and possibly resolve to change. To put it simply: this book is amazing and one I will go back to often.

This story is a must read for anyone who went through high school and felt lonely, was excluded, was bullied, had trouble making friends, and struggled with self-confidence. If you had any of these issues, you will totally relate to this book. I am one of those people, so Elise’s voice was extremely authentic, heartfelt, and relatable to me. It’s the kind of story that has you reflecting on your own experiences and can easily get you to shed a tear.


Elise has a lot of issues with her self-worth or, rather, lack of it. And that, for a reader like me, is not only relatable, but kind of confrontational — in a good way. It really challenged how I think about myself. Though I recognized Elise’s feelings, the way the story plays out shows beautifully how she does have people who care about her, and that she is an important and worthy person. When you’re in a situation like Elise’s, like I have been, it’s easy to fall into that kind of myopia where you don’t see that. Long story short, this book ultimately caused me to gain self-respect, or at least to look at the bigger picture. That’s amazingly uplifting and inspiring.

I’ll admit that sometimes I wished Elise would hurry up and get her reality check because it sucked to see her hurting so much, but the character growth is there. No worries. The self-deprecation all just felt so real and understandable that I did not mind it at all. I just loved every bit of this story: the authentic voice, the heartbreaking realism of her life in high school, the love of music, the family bonds, the bits of romance that were there, the friendships.. oh my gosh, this book just hit the nail on the head. A definite Debby Book™, and the more I think about it, the more and more I realize I love it.

But I love the overall message most of all: that when you find a massive passion, it can save your life. It’s so true. And then I think about myself with this whole book blogging, book reviewing thing. I mean, finding this hobby really allowed me to come into my own, made me feel confident and comfortable with who I am. That is so important. I was always different and to a large extent an outsider, both in high school and university, but then I started this blog. Every day, my confidence grows, and I meet more like minded people who respect me for who I am. And I love that. I love how this book reflected that. ♥

As a final note, I want to give some massive praise to Leila Sales for the ending of this book with regards to the romance. Romance didn’t play too big of a role in this book, because it was much more of a coming-of-age book about finding yourself. And I really respected that. There was some romance, and it ended in the best possible way that’s kind of unique in young adult, and an important kind of message to send to readers. I won’t spoil it, so I’m just saying that I absolutely loved it.

Summing Up:

This story is absolutely beautiful and very dear to my heart. It does what I love that contemporaries can do: it challenged how I think about myself and inspired me to do better. I highly recommend this to pretty much every reader. I’m so jealous of the people that got the promotional mix CDs from Macmillan, because I totally want to listen to all the music mentioned in this book. As a music freak, that part was also just beautiful.

And then, because I love it, I’ll leave you with a quote.

Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn’t you. That isn’t you at all. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

Anyone who was an outsider, was bullied, or struggled with self-worth in high school (or any other time).

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12 responses to “Book Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

  1. shellysrambles

    I bought this book recently (because of the amazing reviews) and I can't wait to read it! It's currently 3rd on my October TBR pile and I just can't wait to get to it. Although I didn't really struggle in high school (well I still am in high school), I think I can connect to what the character is saying. Great review & nice gif choice 🙂
    My recent post [Book Tour] Fractured by Majanka Verstraete: Author Interview

  2. latenightswithgoodbooks

    Absolutely lovely review! I agree with you that it can be so inspirational and heartening to find that book that really speaks to you and your own personal experiences. And now I'm intrigued with how the romance subplot is done. I'm not a huge fan of YA contemporaries, but I do love everything you mentioned here (and that romance takes a backseat to self-development). I definitely do need to keep this in mind when I do get a YA contemp craving. 🙂
    My recent post Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  3. Oh wow. This book definitely sounds like one I'd like. I can definitely relate with some of the bullying issues and such, and it sounds like the story is one to punch you in the feels. And while I haven't really read that many reviews of it, a loooot of people seem to be giving it 5 stars. Okay, this book's getting a little promotion on the TBR haha
    My recent post Horror October: Random Discussions About Horror

  4. Shannelle (The Tracery of Ink)

    You tease, Debby. You had to give that quote.

    And now I'm feeling like I'm really missing out. I didn't see it MIBF, and I'll have to wait until next year to buy it, and I didn't get approved for it on Netgalley. And then it's actually about being bullied, which was my life 3 years ago. And after forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, I'm just really looking out for books that would make me cry because it was so me. *sighs* How can I wait?
    My recent post Book Review: Masque of the Red Death

  5. Judith

    "Elise has a lot of issues with her self-worth or, rather, lack of it. And that, for a reader like me, is not only relatable, but kind of confrontational — in a good way." Oh boy, I think I will love this book, but it sounds like it could be hard as well. Elise definitely sounds like someone I could relate to, and I love that she is such a unique character. Everyone I know who has read this book absolutely loved it, so I'm a bit nervous to pick it up, but it SOUNDS really good. Also, I love love love that quote. So true.

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