This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales Review: For anyone who ever felt out of place

December 16, 2013 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales Review: For anyone who ever felt out of placeThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on October 10, 2013
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.

High school was an awkward experience for me. I got good grades and won awards for being top of the class. If this wasn’t social suicide then, I don’t know what was. My friends at school weren’t exactly the popular ones, we just never quite fit in anywhere else. Luckily, I found my place at social activities outside of school, which brought me friends who I resonated with, understood who I were, and didn’t let grades determine whether I was cool enough to hang around with.

That’s why This Song Will Save Your Your Life really spoke to me, as Elise just didn’t fit in to the social cliques at school. Where her only folly is her intelligence and being precocious (maturing ahead of her classmates), Elise was shunned by the rest of the school for being different. But when given the chance to shine outside of that environment, she found DJ-ing at Start as a place where she could really flourish and be herself.

Her voice and dialogue was just so honest and raw. At the start, Elise is plagued with hangups about herself and negative self talk. This makes her an easy target for bullies, and I really felt for Elise during those times. Even her suicidal thoughts and walking around at night is something that could be related to. Luckily This Song Will Save Your Life is a story about hope, personal growth and finding one’s self, so Elise eventually finds a place where she can fit in, is respected, and has friends that will stick around after school. Despite being quite a self conscious person (after all, most people are), I really liked Elise’s quiet resolve in knowing where she stood at school and at home. Even her approach to boys and dating was refreshingly realistic, and not wrought with whining and negativity.

Start, the indie underground dance party which Elise stumbles upon, is where her love of music really gives her the chance to shine. It is a magical, surreal place where Elise is recognised by local DJ Char. Her talent and quick learning skills lands her a DJ-ing gig with Char at Start, where she’s actually happy for the first time. The juxtaposition of her secret life at Start and the online diary by fake Elise talking about how depressed she is, really shows the two Elise’s at the start and the end of the story.

At first, her secret life at Start seems incomparable to her real life at school, but as she gets to know her newfound friends, she realises that they are only normal people who gather at night, just like her. It was kind of unbelievable to have this unpopular, nerdy girl turn into a DJ superstar with a loving audience, but that captures exactly what your circumstances can do to you, and what this story is about.

You may wonder how I managed to make these friends. Well, I will tell you: making friends is actually not that hard when you drop every single one of your standards. – Elise

This Song Will Save Your Life is a beautiful, relevant story that anyone who ever felt out of place can connect to. It’s a raw, coming of age story that gives you hope. Hope that there is a place that you can fit in outside of school. Hope that you’ll be respected and liked for simply being who you are. Elise shouldn’t be down on herself because her classmates just don’t get her – because when school is over, she’ll have her passion – something people spend all their lives searching for.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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58 responses to “This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales Review: For anyone who ever felt out of place

  1. I LOVED this book so much, and I have read so many amazing emotional reviews of it. Mine was nowhere near as personal as yours and other bloggers', but I completely agree that Elise is a relatable character whose tale can affect readers. You can tell a book is good when it elicits such effusive responses and gets people talking about their own experiences. And yay for school nerdery! Having straight As is a huge accomplishment, and anyone who says otherwise is just jealous.
    Emily @ Forever Lite recently posted…Giveaway: Spring 2014 Candlewick Press DebutsMy Profile

  2. I'm seeing This Song Will Save Your Life on nearly every end of the year list and reading your review now only makes me want to read it more. I have it on my Kindle and after I'm finished with my current read, I'm grabbing my Kindle and don't set it down until I've read Leila's newest book. There were so many times that I've felt out of place. I guess such a sensible topic makes this book a very personal read people can identify with on a high level. Thanks for your awesome review!
    Miss Page-Turner recently posted…Book Review: Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi AshtonMy Profile

  3. I'm pretty sure that I would adore this book. First, I love books involving music. Also, I love contemporary and I really like characters like Elise. This book reminds me a little of another one that I loved and reread a few times, and now I'm even more interested in reading this one than I was before. Great review, Jeann. 🙂
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  4. YEAH! I'm so glad you liked this one as much as I did! I definitely agree with you that this is definitely one of those books every teen should get the opportunity to read; Elise is such a relatable and full-of-depth character. As always, brilliant review Jeann! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…SpeechlessMy Profile

  5. I'm so glad that you loved this one! It seems that everyone has been raving about this book, and I definitely can see where you connected to Elise's inner dialogue. She was so raw and perfect, and I definitely connect with her as someone who's in high school currently and who sometimes feels left out from what's happening at the moment.

    Fantastic review, Jeann! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and recently posted…The Promise of Amazing by Robin ConstantineMy Profile

  6. Fantastic review, Jeann. I think everyone feels left out in life once in awhile but it sounds like the story is just so easy to connect with, love it. High school was that time period for me too, so I can definitely understand that!
    Alise recently posted…ARC Review: Tandem by Anna JarzabMy Profile

  7. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one so much, Jeann. I really liked it as well although I never connected with Elise as much as everyone did for some reason. I think it's because I went to an all girls school and there weren't any cliques. Everyone was friends with everyone, so I never had issues with popularity. Still, the message that the book spread was a strong one.

    Lovely review, Jeann.
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Blog Tour Stop : Addicted for Now by Becca & Krista RitchieMy Profile

  8. Hi Jeann!! 😀 I don't think I've actually stumbled across your blog, but I'm glad I have now!! 😀

    Everyone has been raving about how excellent this novel is, and I have my copy of this novel already, so I'm glad I can read it soon! 🙂 I'm glad you were able to relate to Elise; I think a lot of us can and that's why so many people love it!

    Fantastic review, Jeann!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one 🙂
    Emily recently posted…Review: The Secret IngredientMy Profile

  9. I think a lot for people will be able to relate to this story. And even if you were part of the it-crowd it's written in a way that puts you in Elise's head. I found her story so uplifting, though, which surprised me with a topic that's so serious and usually depressing. I felt so happy for her when she found where she belonged – like the energy when she was DJ-ying was so vivid! I'm always happy to read great reviews of this book! 🙂
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Addicted to You by Becca Ritchie and Krista RitchieMy Profile

  10. Eve

    You know, so far, I don't think I've seen a negative review of this book and it makes me INCREDIBLY happy <3 So many people connect to Elise, which actually makes me kind of sad, because why are smart, ordinary kids always left out and bullied? It doesn't make sense to me. I'd understand if she was acting creepy or like an immature idiot, but she was sweet.

    Anyway, great review!
    Eve recently posted…2013 End of Year Book SurveyMy Profile

  11. Gosh, that quote is bringing out all the freaking feels. I loved this one as well when I read it months ago. Even though I didn't have any problems while growing up and while in High School when it came to bullying, I did have an identity crisis because I didn't have a clique to resonate with. There's just something about this book that makes it so relatable to everyone.

    Lovely review as ever, Jeann!
    Faye @ The Social Po recently posted…ARC Review: No One Else Can have You by Kathleen HaleMy Profile

  12. I've been eying this book for a while, Jeann, and it seems absolutely awesome! I love this kind of story, where the main character needs to get away from her normal environment in order to bloom and feel good about herself. And I love music, so having part of the action happen in an underground club where she is a DJ is something I'm sure I'd enjoy.

    Thank you for your awesome review! I'm adding This Song Will Save Your Life to my TBR right now!
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  13. I heard a lot of good things about this book so far. High school was awkward for me too, sometimes I hear people say those are the best years of their life, but I wouldn't want to go back to that period of my life. This book sounds like it deals realistic with those issues and your review makes me curious about this book, I might have to check it out. Although I am not that into music myself and I wonder if that will lead me to enjoy this book or less.
    Lola recently posted…Review: Removed (Nogiku #1) by SJ PajonasMy Profile

    • I agree with you, im happy with who I am now and not that awkward period where I was still finding myself. I think you'll like it, it is less about the music and more about her journey.

  14. I absolutely adored this one too. I wasn't exactly popular in high school either but I was never in Elise's situation, I'm glad that I wasn't that hard on myself. I fell in love with Elise and her story nearly from page one, and the fact that there was such a focus on music with her DJing made the love the book even more.

    You know I'm not the biggest fan of contemporaries but this is an absolute gem that I'd recommend to anyone and everyone to read!

    Great review, Jeann!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: ARC Review of Impostor by Susanne Winnacker!My Profile

  15. I've read a lot of glowing reviews about this one, Jeann. I think it's high time for me to put this on my TBR. Based on the synopsis, I have a suspicion that this will confront me. I was also like Elise during my Elementary and Uni years. But I think I am luckier than her because I immediately found my friends who didn't care about my looks or whatever. They just accepted me for who I am.

    I think I am going to use a lot of tissues when I read this one.

    Great review, Jeann!

  16. I LOVED IT TOO! I agree that Elise's voice is very honest and realistic — I also related to her a lot. I've never been bullied but I just feel like I don't quite fit in with my friends. The way she handles the romance in the end also made me respect Elise even more. Like, when a guy dumps you, just stop mourning and move on!

    Just discovered your blog today and I'm a new bloglovin follower by the way 🙂
    Kezia recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #10My Profile

  17. Yay!! I'm SO glad you liked this one too! I just adored it. It took me forever to fit in with my "friends" when I was a teen. (Er, I still am a teen, but only for another month.) I really connected to Elise. And I've read that so many readers connected to her too…which is rather interesting. The author sure has a special talent!! It was also intensely interesting to know more about DJing. I kind of thought they just stood there and played different songs…but now I know!