September 3, 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life - Leila Sales
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Strous & Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you Ksenia!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

This Song Will Save Your Life was an unexpectedly lovely read. The combination of music and one girl's journey towards self-acceptance really gave the book its strong appeal. This story breaks your heart, then carefully puts it back together, leaving an unmistakable mark.  

What makes this book most powerful is the fact that we see Elise's journey from this girl with absolutely no self-worth to someone at peace with who she is. Her peers treated her terribly, and the desperation and longing for acceptance she felt constantly was truly sad. Elise was one of those teens on the fringe - no friends, no interests, nothing except a sense of self-loathing that bogged her down daily. She was frustrating, but she was also a character who you wanted things to become good for. 

Elise herself has to grow on the reader, as she's honestly quite sad at the start of the story. Eventually, she takes tentative steps towards change, lured out by the siren call of music, Start and her fascination with being a DJ. Watching her grow into herself, and seeing her passion essentially coax her out of her shell, was a lovely journey. And readers will also see how she's loyal, loving and protective of her entire family. 

Elise's family added an interesting dynamic. Elise came from a broken home, so her parents basically shuttled her back and forth between two very different households. In her father's house, Elise had plenty of freedom as it was just the two of them. In her mother's house, she had a family, with two parents and siblings, which was a bit crazier. While it is bothersome that her parents didn't seem to care in the early chapters, it's clear by the end that they loved her and wanted all the best for her.

And then there are the friends that Elise makes at Start - among them Vicky and Pippa - who are slightly older, but wacky, awesome and just plain cool. The friendships might not necessarily be the main point of Elise's experience at Start, but they were a welcome addition to her life. It's nice that they saw past her age and just accepted her as one of their oddball buddies.

The best part of the novel, however, is definitely Start and Elise's gig as a DJ. Elise finally has her place. Yes, it's not the place you'd expect but it fits her perfectly. Once she discovers a zone where she's okay with who she is and enjoys herself, her story takes a turn for the better.

One little thing: the romance. From its start, it was already obviously something that would end in disaster. While Elise finally got to experience love and it was a good thing, it was a completely annoying affair. There was probably good reason for it, but that didn't make it any easier to swallow nor was that reason particularly clear.

If you're looking for another contemporary novel that will make you feel for the characters, This Song Will Save Your Life might be just the ticket. With a prickly protagonist who readers will eventually identify with, and a musically inspired journey, this book certainly seals its appeal to readers. Highly recommended? Yes, indeed.

Check out the other tour stops!


  1. I am dying to read this book. I've heard so many amazing things about it.

  2. This makes me so happy! I was worried that this one would disappoint me. I'm definitely going to pick this up when I'm in the mood for a contemporary!

  3. I've been going back and forth about this one because I feel reviews have been kind of vague but I think you've convinced me to add it. I love stories o self-acceptance. Like you said perfectly, they make your heart break and then put back together. :)

  4. I loved this book. There was far too much language in it for my tastes, but the story was amazing.

  5. This sounds really good!! But the iffy romance is something that can easily make me not like it so much... Hmmm... I did really love Past Perfect, so I'll give it a chance anyway.

  6. Why is this book not in my hands yet? I love these types of stories where the MC finds a passion and seriously, it's the best thing to watch. I feel like I will love Elise a whole whole lot. I'm so glad you loved this one, gorgeous review, Alexa!

  7. I have no idea why I haven't read this yet ... I LOVE music books and everyone seems to be saying such wonderful things about it. I MUST GET A COPY! :)

    Great review, Alexa!

  8. THIS WAS MY LAST WEEK'S WAITING FOR WEDNESDAY POST! :D I'm so glad you reviewed it and enjoyed it. It means I probably will too. :)

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Ahhhhhh, I loved this book, but I have to say I 100% agree about the romance, just yuck. I think the greatest thing about This Song Will Save Your Life is how it really chronicles Elise's journey from gawky and awkward and weird to someone who believes in herself. I love that, I wish more books had characters like that, as a former gawky awkward girl.

  11. I love the title to this book and the premise sounds intriguing, but I think I might just like the book, but not really love. I do wanna give it a read some time though and I love awkward characters. Plus, DJs?! Love!

    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  12. Glad you're highly recommending this book as I just adored it too. I wasn't sure after the opening chapters but as I kept reading, I was richly rewarded. I especially identified with Elise's awkwardness and wondering where she fit in.

  13. I'm so happy to hear you loved this book! And I'm glad you mentioned not loving the romance aspect - gives me a better idea of what to expect when I finally dive in. I just purchased this one yesterday because I've heard such lovely things about this character and the musical aspect. So happy you're highly recommending it!


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)