By: Melanie | October 22, 2013 | (23) Comments

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Pages: 288
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

Have you ever just read a book and wondered if someone got into your brain and put parts of your life down on paper? When I read This Song Will Save Your Life, that’s exactly what I was thinking. This is one of those books that will crawl under your skin and stay there forever, keeping its mark. After one day of reading this, I have been contemplating about this book non-stop.

“People are who they are and, try as you might, you cannot make them be what you want them to be.”

Elise Dembowski has never fit in. Outcast, social pariah, outsider, complete odd one out. When she moved to a new school, she thought she could reinvent herself; make herself pretty and a popular girl–she was wrong. And she doesn’t understand why. So she does the next most reasonable step–she gets out her father’s razor blade and plans to kill herself. Only, she doesn’t go through with it. You may think Elise is weak. She is not, she’s been fighting with personalities she’s never understood, ones that she never really accepted into her life like everyone else when everyone reached high school. Elise is a strong, vehement character that I could relate to so well, I wondered if we shared the same brain. We have similar thoughts, especially about everyone else at school. Everyone seemed to move on apart from her. Elise scared me too, she did some gutsy things that made me freak out about and worry for her. I guess that’s just one more reason of how much I could relate to her. Elise’s charisma was flawlessly authentic, and powerful. A part of Elise Dembowski now lives in me.

I don’t like clichés. I’ve established that thousands of times however like in Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers; I realised that clichés are actually passable–even good if they are written with a realistic vibe. So when Leila Sales dragged in a sack of high-school clichés, I only loved this book more and more. This depiction of high school from a victim’s point of view made me frustrated and sorry for Elise. Truth be told, high school is cliché. It depends on how the author chooses to write it determines whether it’s enjoyable or not. As for the supporting characters, I was also quite in love. Elise is a social pariah so when she made friends with some people at a night club, it was reluctant and shaky but all the same wonderful to see develop. Vicky is our reasonable and spunky girl who plays in a band, Pippa a carefree wild girl and Char, a professional DJ. All these characters were three dimensional, they don’t know about Elise’s harsh past which makes their connections plenty times stronger. Because quite straight-forwardly, they don’t condesend to try to be soft on Elise, just because you have friends does not mean all your problems at school will just go away. Same goes for the romance, boyfriends can’t make everything better.

I loved the messages sent throughout this novel. Elise has to find out for herself who her true identity is and strength and persistence pulled her through that. This novel is three things; bold, beautiful and genuine. And much more of course, but these three things are what I think describe this book best. This is a finding yourself, losing yourself novel. This is a lust or love novel. This is a reality against illusion novel. This book is so many things and the way Leila Sales bound it all into just under 300 pages amazes me.

This book is not pretty, this book is the nasty and truthful depiction of high school. This book is also beautiful, in its themes conveyed and writing, which was so raw. A book with friendship, family, love and music, This Song Will Save Your Life is a book every reader needs to have read.

5 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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23 Responses to Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

  1. Megan says:

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I really think I need to read it now.
    Megan recently posted…Review: The Raven BoysMy Profile

  2. I’m glad this affected you so deeply. We all need to have books that touch us in such a way. Truth be told, I’ll probably avoid it like I usually avoid these books. High school isn’t something I like to think about, especially not when described in a realistic fashion. If there’s no boy who shoots lightning bolts from his fingers, it’s not a book for me. 😀
    Still, I must admit it sounds lovely.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Release Day Review: IndigoMy Profile

  3. Kezia D says:

    OMG YES IM SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT IT WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE <3 I love how I could relate to Elise in so many ways, how this book made me cry and everything is realistic and not sugarcoated. Plus, I love how she handles the guy in the end. Great review, Melanie! <3
    Kezia D recently posted…[In Bullet Points] The Fall of Five by Pittacus LoreMy Profile

  4. It’s so great to connect with a book like that. Doesn’t seem like my kind of book but happy you enjoyed it.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Review: As the World Dies: Untold Tales Vol. 1, 2 & 3 by Rhiannon Frater (Book Tour)My Profile

  5. Emily says:

    I’ve been seeing rave reviews for this novel everywhere!! And now I have to add you to the list as well! xD So I think I certainly have to pick this one up soon!
    “A book with friendship, family, love and music..” Well now, this certainly looks like one that I will enjoy, especially because it doesn’t fluff up the high school experience, but gives the truth about what some people go through as well!
    Fantastic review, Mel!! <3
    Emily recently posted…When I Stop Blogging For Numbers and Start Doing It For MeMy Profile

  6. Celine says:

    This book sounds heartbreakingly beautiful. I’m definitely going to read this, because WOW. It sounds amazing.

    Great review <3
    Celine recently posted…Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  7. Tanja says:

    I was staying away from this book just because I though it was typical. You know an outsider girl who meets some guys and HEA. Boy I was so wrong. I see that this story has depth and feelings and now it goes to my to-read list right away. Great review Mel 😉
    Tanja recently posted…Something Wicked Returns: Touching the Surface by Kimberly SabatiniMy Profile

  8. I’ve been intrigued with this book after the consistent good reviews for it, and the depiction of high school and bullying. That makes it all the more meaningful and sounds like it was executed well. Great review Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles Review: A love/hate antagonistic romanceMy Profile

  9. Beautiful review. I love books that just seem to speak to you. I think I would really like this one; love realistic adaptations of high school.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Unusual Character NamesMy Profile

  10. Lexa Cain says:

    Wow! It sounds like Leila did an awesome job of finding the heartbeat of a teen in her book. It’s hard to make characters flawed but likeable. I’m glad you found a book you loved, Mel! 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Guest Post: Learning the LingoMy Profile

  11. Candace says:

    I’m so, so glad to see your positive review of this! I bought a copy and am so excited to pick it up. And I totally understand about books being like practically taken from your own brain, and I love that feeling!
    Candace recently posted…Blog Tour: Colony East by Scott Cramer Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  12. Shelly says:

    You summed up my feelings about this book better than I did. I totally agree with everything you said. I totally loved this book and I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it too! Awesome review! <33
    Shelly recently posted…A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Book ReviewMy Profile

  13. You’re making me so excited to read this! I have it out from the library 🙂
    -Scott Reads It!
    Scott Pilgrim recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Character NamesMy Profile

  14. Giselle says:

    I guess clichés exist because they reflect reality but yeah you have to be a good writer to make it bearable in a book. I loved this one too and found the whole thing very realistic and honest. Elise was someone I really connected too and I loved how she found where she belonged and did what made her happy. I was also impressed by how amazing this book was considering the short number of pages!
    Giselle recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (97)My Profile

  15. This is me right here, doing a fist pump because YOU ENJOYED THIS BOOK! I could connect so easily with what Elise was going through that I found myself jealous that she’d come across Start and made friends with all these awesome people — and I hadn’t. Seriously. Imagine getting jealous with a character. Who is not real. I obviously need to set my priorities right.

    Elise was such a wonderful character. I like that she wasn’t the stereotypical loner, where everyone hates her and throws her into dumpsters. This kind of bullying was more of the silent kind, the kind that looked like it didn’t have that much impact, but in reality, it did. And I found that scene where she slit her wrists to be so meaningful and so original at the same time. I mean, I’ve never come across a single YA book where the protagonist did something as serious and crazy as that to attract attention, but the best part was that I could relate to her even then. Leila Sales really isn’t afraid to show the dark side of teenagers.

    I realised that clichés are actually passable–even good if they are written with a realistic vibe.” — I only came to realize this recently, even though I’ve been reading for as long as I remember. The high school IS cliche, but it didn’t bother me at all, because I guess high schools really are stereotypical in reality.

    I never expected THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE to be such a powerful and heartbreaking novel, but it was. I mean, just looking at the cover you’d get the feeling that it would be something light and funny, right? But I’m so glad it wasn’t. It’s one of my favorite contemporaries of all time. I’m SO glad you loved it! Brilliant review as always, hon!
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…Which YA Heroine Are You?My Profile

  16. I like coming of age books, and I’m so glad you reviewed this book so well that I’d want to read it, too. 🙂
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…81. Obsidian (Lux 1) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutMy Profile

  17. Stephanie B says:

    I’ve seen this book around a lot but I haven’t actually read that much about it before now. Great review, Mel! This novel does sound beautiful in its own way. I’ll have to pick it up!
    Stephanie B recently posted…Searching for a Co-Blogger/ReviewerMy Profile

  18. Rachel says:

    Wonderful review, Melanie. It’s always lovely when a book feel tailored exactly for you. 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Special Guest Post: Easy by Tammara WebberMy Profile

  19. Reynje says:

    I just finished this today, and really enjoyed it. Honestly, I could see a little of myself in some of Elise’s experiences.. I could especially relate to the feeling of not fitting in – no matter what I did it just never seemed enough or quite right for everyone else..

    And I totally agree with you on the way the romance was handled – it would have been so easy to take it down a cliched path – but I loved how honest Sales was about it.

    Lovely review, so glad you loved it 🙂
    Reynje recently posted…Mood LightingMy Profile

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