{Review} This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

centralpickswithpunkfarie{Review} This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on September 17, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Fiction (YA)
Pages: 288

Our Rating

5 Stars

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.

This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.


Oh man, I loved this book. It was cute but meaningful, and I just adored it.

Elise is an outsider. Not a typical “I’m not like other girls” YA novel outsider. Like, a real outsider. The girl that played make believe a little longer than the other kids, the girl that still wears cutesy things with unicorns on them in high school, the girl that doesn’t understand fashion and never will. She’s been picked on by the same kids pretty much every year since elementary.

Well sophomore year is going to be different. She’s changing her looks, her wardrobe, her attitude and she’s finally going to be accepted.

Except it’s not. And her next step is kinda drastic and not surprising for a teenage girl in her situation. I say kinda not because what she contemplates isn’t serious but that making the perfect playlist is far more important to her.

Skip ahead almost a year later and she’s taken to sneaking out at night and wondering the streets alone. This is how she meets Vicky, Pippa, and Char, and she gets introduced to Start, an underground club. Which changes her life.

Music has always been her comfort and I love that it becomes even more for her. Elise is full of self-doubt and, honestly, she can be just as judgmental as the people that judge her, though I think a lot of it is more of a self-defense thing than being a snob. She discovers that she can be ~weird and still be liked by people. She doesn’t need to change who she is, she needs to realize that the person she is, is already awesome.

The secondary characters are strong in this book. Vicky is older and already been through the crapstorm that is high school. She likes Elise as she is and encourages her. She turns into a genuine friend. Pippa is nothing but drama and I didn’t like her but she’s more of a lost cause.

Char is…well…I wouldn’t really call him a love interest. He’s just kind of there. He’s the DJ at Start, who teaches Elise everything about being a DJ and they occasionally spend the night together fooling around. He also likes Elise as she is and lets her do guest spots during his DJ set so she can practice. I feel like they are more of a friends with benefits type thing. I mean, they only saw each other once a week and never knew each other’s real/full names but it was proof that a boy could like her, she wasn’t this awful person she thought she was.

Her parents are actually around and invested in her life. They love her. They want good things for her, they ground her when she does something awful and they want to spend time with her.

This book was really heartfelt and relatable. I understood where Elise as coming from, I understood her frustrations and her hurt feelings. I thought she was lovable and deserved good things.

I highly recommend this book.

About Leila Sales

Leila Sales was born in 1984 and grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in psychology in 2006. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children's book publishing. Leila spends most of her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write.

Author: punkfarie

punkfarie lives in a virtual house of books, where she visits lands filled with knights and princesses and fairies and witches and dragons, and her best friends are vampires and zombies. Find more of her reviews at Punk's House of Books.

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