25 October 2013

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Published: 17 September 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 288 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Source: Own library


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.

My Thoughts

This Song Will Save Your Life is a book that pretty much everyone I know completely adored.  In fact, it's a book that never would have been on my radar if it wasn't for the glowing reviews that it received from bloggers that I trust implicitly to be totally honest about how a book makes them feel.  So when it accidentally-on-purpose fell into my cart, I was so excited to read it.  

Elise is a character that I immediately felt a strong connection with - she's not popular, doesn't fit in and puts up with some horrendous behaviour from the other students at her school, but she has a burning passion for music, and can completely lose herself and ignore the world around her when she's plugged in.  And that is probably why this book was such a fabulous experience for so many people - being a teenager (and an adult if we want to get that deep) is hard, especially when you are different and for some reason that you can't fathom, you are ostracised, belittled and generally just treated like crap.  Relating to Elise was easy for me because I had similar experiences at school.

The surprise element in This Song Will Save Your Life for me was the musical element.  I hadn't connected the fact that she's wearing headphones on the cover with the mention of a band and DJ in the synopsis.  Elise has a passion for what I call PROPER music - not this manufactured crap (man I sound old), but music that you can sing out loud to, and the musical mentions throughout the book had me wanting to fire up my iPod and block out the world courtesy of The Cure.

It's not all doom, gloom and blocking out the world - my favourite part of This Song Will Save Your Life was seeing how Elise found her niche - people who liked her for who she was, appreciated her talent and made her feel valued and loved.  In that way, This Song Will Save Your Life has an important message to anyone that feels lost - there are people that care, and your passion can lead you to a happier place where you can be yourself.

One thing that I often bemoan in YA literature is the lack of parental involvement, or arsehole parents that might as well be absent for all the damage they are causing.  In This Song Will Save Your Life however, Elise's parents and family are all present, quirky and their love for Elise is obvious in their actions - plus they are pretty awesomely open-minded and supportive of Elise finding her feet.

This Song Will Save Your Life is a book that has a little bit of everything - music, fantastic characters, a little bit of romance (albeit slightly unconventional, but that's the best kind), family relationships and a plot that conveys an important message without being condescending or shallow.  

I'm not even completely sure why I'm not five starring This Song Will Save Your Life, but I honestly believe that there are a lot of people who will love this book even more than I did.  Read it!


  1. I adored the music in this book so much! It really was a 5 star book for me and even my school experience wasn't as bad as Elise, it was so easy to connect and relate with her!

    1. The music was an unexpected bonus for me - I completely missed it in the synopsis! She was a fantastic character, I absolutely loved her!

  2. Whew! I'm glad it lived up to all the raves. I loved this book and for exactly the reasons you stated. lived it. Unfortunately not the finding something I love and escaping part but the loneliness that is your teenage years. lol

  3. I love music in books. I really liked virtuosity by ( forget her name) .I'm so looking forward to this one



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