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This Song Will Save Your Life
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This Song Will Save Your Life

4.5 25
by Leila Sales

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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;


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, Leila Sales' THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Elise has endured a lifetime of social isolation and bullying at school. Walking alone one night soon after a halfhearted suicide attempt, the 16-year-old inadvertently ends up at an underground nightclub. There, an aspiring musician befriends her, and she catches the eye of Char, a cute DJ who agrees to teach her to mix music. But as talented, driven Elise spends more nights sneaking out to learn how to DJ (and kiss Char), her double life spins out of control. Elise is a complex, well-drawn character, and it’s easy to relate to her sense of feeling like an outsider (“There are so many rules that you don’t know, and no matter how much you study, you can’t learn them all”). Sales (Past Perfect) fills her third YA novel with honest insights about high school’s cruel politics, tender conversations between Elise and her equally struggling parents, and visceral descriptions of life as a DJ: “It felt like invisible veins and arteries ran between me and every person in that room, communicating information between us instantly and noiselessly.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“The emotional resonance of Elise's journey . . . feels very much of the moment.” —The New York Times

“*Pulsates with hope for all the misfits.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“*What sets this apart from so many problem novels is how honestly and deeply Sales probes the life of a miserable 16-year-old, from her cringe-worthy attempt at "learning" how to be popular to the observational, rather than emotional, look at what it feels like to be with a guy.” —Booklist, starred review

“*Pulsates with hope for all the misfits.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

VOYA - Geri Diorio
Elise will admit herself how precocious she is, but she has been a bullied outsider all her life. As sophomore year begins, a suicide attempt is foiled when Elise calls a classmate after realizing that she just wants attention, not death. While out for a habitual middle-of-the-night walk, Elise stumbles across a warehouse dance party and finds something new to be precocious about: DJ-ing. She falls both into a regular DJ gig and into bed with the slightly older DJ Char. Elise is very good at running dance parties; her family is loving; and her new friends are terrific. But her school life is still horrid, with a new torment: someone posing as Elise is writing a blog about how depressing and horrible her life is. Elise is not an easy protagonist to like. She is arrogant and stubborn and almost too precocious, but she is also smart and young and determined. The novel can feel very uneven as her two lives contrast so sharply. Elise is the "hottest DJ in Glendale," with a good family life, while simultaneously she is the butt of cruel jokes at school. When Elise finally begins to stand up for herself, it comes as a relief. This smart, talented, stubborn girl will finally be seen as she truly is by her family and friends. This novel is complicated, even messy at times, and thus, very lifelike. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
VOYA - Holly Storm
This Song Will Save Your Life is a transformation story. Being such, it improves drastically as its protagonist evolves. Initially, Elise is self-pitying to the extent that the narrative is hard to swallow. When she finds some self-confidence, however, the book becomes very engaging. The friends she makes are especially lovable. The action is well balanced between the roaring excitement of a nightclub and the quiet tension of Elise's family. Ultimately, this book has the potential to be quite inspirational. Reviewer: Holly Storm, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Sarah Raymond
Sixteen-year-old Elise finds herself curled up in her room, blood running from her arm, telephone in hand, calling the only nice girl she can think of to ask for help. Elise feels entirely alone as she enters her sophomore year and it is not from lack of trying to find friends or fit in. A school bully that has her believing she is worthless plagues her. Luckily, Elise gets help, but the real help comes one Thursday night as she is wandering the streets alone. She stumbles upon two girls that bring her along to the Start, an all-night underground dance club. From here Elise finds she can utilize her talents and love of music to do something amazing. In the process she finds herself and begins to realize that she has worth. Sales does a nice job of exposing the harsh world of high school and the feeling of loneliness that encompasses all of us at some point. At the same time she leaves readers feeling hope for the future and a world beyond high school: a world where we are free to be who we want to be. Reviewer: Sarah Raymond; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A razor-sharp and honest view of a misfit trying to find her place in the world. For most of her life, Elise has tried to make friends, but nothing ever seemed to work and she always finds herself on the outside of everything. The summer before her sophomore year, she studies up on current trends and fashion in one last-ditch effort to be accepted. But when it goes horribly wrong, she attempts suicide but realizes that she isn't serious about it. When she has trouble sleeping, she goes on long walks, and one night she happens upon a hidden dance club. An avid music lover, Elise feels that she has finally found a place to fit in with the kids in the club and the DJ playing the music. But her road to acceptance and freedom isn't smooth, and through the bumps along the way she finally finds who she's meant to be. Elise is smart and funny and very relatable. Her love of music is a huge part of her story, and there are many references to bands and songs throughout, so some teens will take to this book and love it. Others might not be interested enough to follow Elise on her journey of self-acceptance.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Elise Dembowski is a chronic overachiever. Her project for sophomore year is to finally fit in. When this fails and Elise discovers that she is still the same as she's always been, she makes a desperate decision--a suicide attempt--that ostracizes her even further. After this incident, Elise takes to walking alone at night, which is how she stumbles across Start, an underground dance party. There, she meets a cast of characters who help her begin to see the light at the end of the crushingly dark and seemingly endless tunnel that is high school. Elise begins living a double life, returning each week to Start and learning to DJ. The alluring but elusive DJ Char takes her under his wing and helps her develop her talent. When a cyberbully dredges up Elise's past and begins attacking her via a fraudulent online journal, Elise's passion for DJ'ing becomes her refuge. Her secrets eventually become impossible to maintain, forcing her to come clean about who she is and who she wants to be. Elise is a remarkably self-aware character. Her journey toward acceptance--of others and of herself--is compelling. The supporting characters are equally well-developed, with the strengths and flaws of real people. Sales' narrative, rich with diverse music references, reverberates with resilience. Pulsates with hope for all the misfits. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
HL720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

This Song Will Save Your Life

By Leila Sales

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2013 Leila Sales
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-374-35139-7


You think it's so easy to change yourself.

You think it's so easy, but it's not.

What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all-new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? Do you change your clothes, your hair, your face? Go on, then. Do it. Pierce your ears, trim your bangs, buy a new purse. They will still see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, still too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always, wrong. Change all you want; you can't change that.

I know because I tried.

I was born to be unpopular. There was no other way it could have gone. If there were just one place where it first fell apart, I could dream of going back in time and finding myself and saying, "Listen, ten-year-old Elise, just don't wear that oversize bright red sweater with the tufts of yarn sticking out of it like pom-poms. I know it is your favorite, because it looks so special, but don't do it. Don't be special."

That's what I would say to my younger self if I could pinpoint the moment when I went astray. But there was no one moment. I was always astray.

I've gone to school with the same kids since kindergarten. And they knew what I was long before I did. I was uncool by fourth grade. How is it even possible to be an uncool fourth grader? Didn't we all just string together friendship bracelets and daydream about horses and pretend to solve mysteries back then?

But somehow, even in fourth grade, they knew. A new girl moved to our town that year, from Michigan. She and I used to sit outside together during recess while the other girls played don't-touch-the-ground tag, and we'd talk about the witches' coven I wanted to form, because I'd read a chapter book about a witches' coven and my dad had given me some incense that I thought we could use. And then one day on the playground, Lizzie Reardon came over and casually said to my new friend, "Don't spend too much time with Elise. She might rub off on you." I was sitting right there. It wasn't a secret. I was a social liability.

This was fourth grade.

We went to a middle school twice the size of our elementary school, and then we went to a high school twice the size of our middle school. But somehow all those new kids, every one of them, immediately found out about me. Somehow it was that obvious.

When I was little my mom used to schedule my playdates with different girls: Kelly, Raquel, Bernadette. Then in fifth grade, Kelly moved to Delaware, Raquel invited every girl except me to her roller-skating birthday party, and Bernadette sent me a note to let me know that she only hung out with me because her parents said she had to.

I used to hang out with the neighborhood boys, too, when I was a kid. We would build forts in the summer and snowmen in the winter. But around the time we went to middle school, everyone started thinking about dating, which meant that no boy would be caught dead playing in the snow with me anymore lest someone see us and think he had a crush on me. Because obviously, having a crush on Elise Dembowski would be just about the lamest thing an eleven-year-old boy could do.

So by the end of seventh grade, I had no one. Okay, I still had kids who I splashed around with at my mom's summer lake house. I had my parents' friends' children, none of them quite my age, who would sometimes come over for family dinners. But I had no one who was really mine.

Last summer, after freshman year, I decided I couldn't go on like this anymore. I just could not. It's not like I wanted to be Lizzie Reardon, captain of the soccer team; or Emily Wallace, part-time teen model; or Brooke Feldstein, who could (and did) hook up with every guy in school. I didn't need to be the most exciting, beautiful, beloved girl in the world. I just needed not to be me anymore.

You think it's so easy to change yourself. It would be just like a movie makeover montage, pop music scoring the ugly girl's transformation from bespectacled duckling to cheerleader swan. You think it's so easy, but it was a whole summer's worth of work. It was watching TV constantly, like I was doing homework, taking notes on who all these characters were, making charts of who came from which shows. It was reading gossip magazines and women's magazines every week, testing myself when I was in the drugstore checkout line: "Who is that woman pictured on the cover of Marie Claire ? Which reality TV show was she in?" It was hours of sunshine every day thrown away in favor of hunching over a computer, reading fashion blogs and celebrity blogs and perfume blogs. Did you even know that perfume Web sites exist? What is the point?

The one thing I couldn't bring myself to do was listen to the music. I tried, for nearly an hour. Then I gave up. It was bad. Not even interesting-bad, like the movies I went to see alone, taking note of which lines in a romantic comedy made the audience laugh. The popular music wasn't interesting-bad, it was bad-bad. Auto-Tuned vocalists who couldn't really sing; offensively simplistic instrumentation; grating melodies. Like they thought we were stupid.

I would have given almost anything to change myself, but I wouldn't give in to that. I hated that music more than I hated having to be myself every day. So I just read about popular musicians online and made flash cards about them until I felt prepared to talk about them. But not to listen to them.

All summer I spent on this. Ten weeks, uninterrupted, except for the time I spent record shopping, and the weekend I spent trying to repair my dad's computer, and a week that I had to spend at the lake house, where there is no TV or Internet. So, okay, I guess there were some interruptions, but still, you have to believe me when I tell you that the rest of the time I was working really hard on becoming cool.

This should have been a red flag, I realize in retrospect. Working really hard on anything is, by definition, not cool.

The week before school began, I went shopping. Not only did I go shopping, I went to the mall. I was ready. I knew what I was supposed to wear—I had read so many issues of Seventeen by that point, I could rattle off the five best mascara brands without even thinking about it.

So I knew what I was supposed to do, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I wasn't going to spend $150 on a pair of jeans. I wasn't going to drop $300 on a purse. Come on, Kate Spade, you can't fool me—it's a bag. The Sierra Club regularly mails me bags for free. Or, okay, for a $25 donation, but really, that pays for saving forests, not for manufacturing tote bags, which I can't imagine costs more than a dollar or two.

Both my parents gave me some money for back-to-school clothes, and I had some money saved up, but I resented spending it all on clothes that I didn't really want. I mean, yes, I wanted to look like a cool person, but I didn't want to become impoverished in the process.

It's probably different for girls who have always been cool. Probably when they go shopping, they just have to fill in with a new pair of sneakers here or a new belt there. But I was inventing myself from scratch.

I went through every item in my closet. Which of these could I bring with me into my new life? Not the sweatpants, not the sweatshirts. These jeans, maybe, though the cuffs are wrong. This sweater, maybe, if it had a different neckline.

I thought all my clothes were fine. I liked them, even. They made a statement. The Indian sari that I had tailored into a summer dress. The Ramones shirt I got at a thrift store on Thayer Street, so threadbare that it just had to be an authentic relic of the seventies. The white boots with unicorns printed on them because, even though I'm fifteen, I still think the unicorn would be the world's greatest animal.

But that is the problem with me. That, right there. Not just that I owned these clothes but that I liked them. That after ten weeks of learning what real people did, I still liked my wrong, wrong clothes.

So I threw my wrong, wrong clothes into garbage bags and tied them shut as tight as I could, as if my unicorn boots might try to stage an escape. I hid the bags in the attic of my mom's house. Then I went on a shopping spree at Target for every knockoff Seventeen -style garment that I could find. Even then, the total wound up being way more than I had ever spent on clothes in any one of my thrift-store trips. It made me sick to look at the receipt.

But can you put a price on happiness? Really, if that's what it costs to make you glad to be yourself, then isn't it worth it?

* * *

On the first day of sophomore year, a Thursday, I sprang out of bed at six a.m. It takes time to make yourself look like a cool person. You can't just roll out of bed looking cool, or at least I can't.

So I got up. I washed and conditioned my hair. I shaved my legs, which is something I didn't know you were supposed to do until an ill-fated all-class pool party at the end of eighth grade. I put on my first-day-of-school outfit, which I had tried on a zillion times already: loafers, fitted jeans, a T-shirt without any writing or patterns on it, a headband. Headbands are back, you know. I read it in a magazine.

"I'm going to school," I announced to Dad.

He blinked at me over his newspaper. "No breakfast?"

"No breakfast." My stomach felt tight and jittery; breakfast was the last thing I wanted.

Dad's gaze drifted to the table, which was piled high with bread rolls, jam, bananas, milk, a pitcher of orange juice, and boxes of cereal that he had obviously set out for me. "You want breakfast like a monkey?"

"Dad, please." I never have to go through this routine at my mom's house.

He picked up a banana. "What do monkeys say?"

When I was a kid, I was really into bananas. I still like them, but when I was in elementary school I basically subsisted on them. My dad thought it was hilarious to make me ask for them by scratching at my armpits, jumping up and down, and saying, "Ooh ooh ahh ahh." You know. Like a monkey. So I thought it was hilarious as well. Anything that was proven to make my dad laugh made me laugh, too.

Sometime during middle school, it occurred to me that the monkey act might be stupid. But my dad never got over it.

"Ooh ooh ahh ahh?" He tossed the banana from hand to hand.

"I have to go, Dad." I opened the door.

"All right, kiddo. Knock 'em dead." He put down the banana and stood up to give me a hug. "You look great."

And I guess that should have been a warning sign, too, because dads do not have the same taste as teenagers in what looks great.

I walked to the corner to wait for the school bus. Usually I'm running to catch the bus just before it pulls away because I'm cherishing every last moment in my house, where it's safe, before I have to go face the next eight hours.

But that morning, I made it to the bus stop with minutes to spare. I'm never early to anything, so I didn't know what to do with myself. I watched cars driving past and people coming out of their duplexes in business suits, off to work. I fought the pounding urge to put on my headphones. All I wanted was to listen to music, but wearing headphones makes you look cut off from the rest of the world, antisocial. I wasn't going to be antisocial this year. I was decidedly pro-social.

A few other kids showed up at the bus stop, too, but none of them spoke to me. It was so early, though. Who wants to have a conversation so early in the morning?

The school bus finally pulled up, and we all got on. I did not sit in the front. The front is where the losers sit, and I was not a loser anymore. Instead I sat in the middle of the bus, which is a relatively cool place to sit, even though I didn't feel cool about it. I felt panicked and nauseated about it, but I did it anyway. The bus drove off, while I sat on the peeling olive-green upholstery, taking deep breaths and trying not to think about what happened the other time I sat in the middle of the school bus.

It was last April, and for whatever reason I wasn't sitting in the very first row, like usual. Chuck Boening and Jordan DiCecca suddenly sat down next to me, and I had been so excited, even though I had to press my body against the window to make room for them both.

It's not like I was so excited because they are so hot, even though they are. It was just because they were talking to me, looking at me, like I was a real person. They were asking me what I was listening to on my iPod. They seemed genuinely interested. And I lost my head.

"I always see you with your headphones on," Jordan said, leaning in close, and that was flattering, that anyone cared about me enough to recognize that I always did something.

"Yes," I said, and did not elaborate that I always had my headphones on so I wouldn't always have to hear the world around me.

"What are you listening to?" Chuck asked.

"The Cure," I said.

Jordan nodded. "Oh, cool. I like them."

And that was exciting, too, that this suntanned soccer champ and I liked the same eighties goth band. I believe that a person's taste in music tells you a lot about them. In some cases, it tells you everything you need to know. I thought, in that moment, that if Jordan liked the Cure, then he wasn't the cookie-cutter preppy boy I'd always assumed. And I imagined that he thought, in that moment, that if I liked the Cure, then I wasn't the tragic loser he had always assumed. We were both more than our labels, and maybe we could be friends and go to concerts together.

So when Jordan went on to say, "Let me see," I handed him my iPod.

Why? Why did I believe he had to see my iPod to know what I was listening to? I told you, it's the Cure! You want to know more, I'll tell you the title of the song! You want to know more, I'll tell you how many minutes and seconds into it I am! But shouldn't I have wondered why he needed to actually hold my iPod?

I handed it to him, and he grabbed it and ran off to the back of the bus with it, and with Chuck, and with everyone else on the bus cheering them on.

Was it really everyone else on the bus? Or was that just how I recalled it now, five months later? Some people on that bus must have had something else going on in their lives. Some girl must have recently broken up with her boyfriend. Someone must have been worrying about his bio test. Really, could every single person on that bus have just been caught up in the thrill of seeing my iPod stolen? Really?

It seemed like it, yes.

So what do you think I did? Did I go charging down the aisle of that bus, eyes ablaze, and demand that Jordan and Chuck return my iPod, because it did not belong to them, because they did not deserve to listen to the Cure under any circumstances, let alone under these? Did I use my righteous indignation to reclaim my iPod, and did I emerge from this struggle triumphant, with everyone else on the bus now cheering for me?

No. Instead, I let them run to the back of the bus with my iPod. I let them go. And then I leaned my head against the window and I cried.

Does this seem weak to you? Could you have done better? Fine, by all means, do better. But you don't understand this: sometimes when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry.

I got my iPod back eventually. I told my homeroom teacher, and she told the vice principal, Mr. Witt, and he made the boys return my iPod and write letters of apology. Mr. Witt also told the bus driver, who somehow didn't know—or acted like he didn't know—what had happened on his bus, captured in his rearview mirror. The bus driver was annoyed with me, because it was my fault he got in trouble, and he barked at me, "From now on, sit up front, where I can keep an eye on you." Which I did for the last month and a half of freshman year.

So now, on the first day of sophomore year, when I sat near the middle of the bus—to the front of the middle, but still—I felt my whole body trembling, because I knew how big a risk I was taking. The knot in my stomach had tightened, and as the school bus rounded a corner, I seriously worried that I might throw up. Fortunately, I swallowed it down, which is good because vomiting on the first day of school is not cool. Also not cool is rocking back and forth as you sit in a school bus, breathing loudly, and wiping your sweaty palms on your new knockoff designer jeans. But even that is cooler than vomit.

Because my stop is one of the first on the bus's route, nearly all the seats were empty. They filled up fast, though. New kids got on at every stop, shrieking with excitement over new haircuts, new book bags, new manicures. Chuck and Jordan and their crew were nowhere to be seen, thank God, which implied to me that either they had all been expelled or their families had been relocated to prison camps. Or they just knew someone who had gotten a license and a car.


Excerpted from This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. Copyright © 2013 Leila Sales. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Leila Sales is the author of the novels Mostly Good Girls and Past Perfect. She grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. Much like the characters in This Song Will Save Your Life, Leila regularly stays up too late and listens to music too loud. When she's not writing, she spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, chocolate, and the meaning of life. But mostly chocolate. Leila lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York, and works in children's book publishing.

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This Song Will Save Your Life 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
book4children More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a tough review for me to write. First, let me say what I loved about the book. It was well written, interesting, and addictive. I couldn't put it down. I fell in love with Elise and her story and I just had to see how things turned out for her. I felt like she was a very believable character and I became very invested in her. I loved, loved, loved her interest in DJing and the way it affected her emotionally and socially. I really enjoyed the way she tries to make herself over to fit in with everyone else, only to have it backfire. Then she remakes herself over again, but the time, as herself. She discovers who she is and realizes that she's known it all along. The writing, the plot, and the characters are all fantastic. I love the cover. Brilliant, gorgeous cover. I want to make a poster out of it and hang it on my wall so I can look at it every day. So why 3 stars? Language. I was shocked at how many F-words (among other words) were in these pages. I kept thinking, good grief, this is a teen novel? The other reason was the sexual content. It's not overly detailed, and "it" doesn't technically happen, but I don't have a better word for what does happen. While I loved this book for many reasons, I still have to say that it contains too much adult content for me to recommend it to a teen audience. I would have doled out a whole-hearted 5 star rating if it hadn't been for the language and sexual content. Content: graphic language and sexual situations.
Disquietus More than 1 year ago
Actual rating of this book? Infinity stars.  I’ve read a lot of contemporary YA novels, especially over this past summer, and I’ve loved most of them. Even in my late twenties, I find it easy to relate to the journeys that contemporary YA characters go through, as they struggle with finding their identity and their purpose, and the many other issues that come up in those pivotal years. But never have I come across one that has touched me so deeply as This Song Will Save Your Life. The synopsis barely touches the story held between this books pages. What sounds like your typical run of the mill, coming-of-age story is actually a powerful, deeply moving tale of overcoming the crushing hopelessness and loneliness that comes from feeling as if there is no place for yourself in this world by being brave enough to change and find your passion and realize that who you are is ENOUGH. As much as I loved this story, it was not an easy one for me to read. It was a brutally emotional experience. I laughed and cried and raged, both at Elise and at other characters on her behalf. I felt her loneliness and her triumphs as deeply as she did. More times than I could count I found myself having to set the book down just so I could get control of my own emotions. the second chapter in particular was the most brutal chapter I have ever read in my life. It was horrific in it’s honesty, and brought on many a painful flashback. Sales’ writing is stellar. The story moves at a perfect pace and the characters are well developed and interesting and 110% realistic, as are the events that guide Elise’s journey. Elise is a character I instantly connected with.  So many of her thoughts, ideas, rationales and beliefs about herself and her life have passed through my head. At times being in her head was like reading one of my own diaries from my teenage years. I went through similar experiences of bullying in middle school, especially 7th and 8th grade, and throughout my freshman year of high school and it was so easy to understand her viewpoint on her classmates and the options she thinks she has. Kids are cruel and going through that kind of torment day in and day out is draining and eventually the hopelessness crushes you. But Elise is stronger than she realizes. She is smart and witty and her voice is refreshingly genuine. She’s also self-absorbed, naive and utterly oblivious to the truth of most things. As much as I loved, related, and wanted to protect her, there were just as many moments when I wanted to shake her and give her the much needed wake up call she doesn’t get til the ending. I adored most of the secondary characters as well. Elise’s family was great, although I do wish they had played a bigger role, especially her younger siblings. Her new friends, especially Vicky and Harry were a huge highlight for me and I immensely enjoyed every scene they were featured in. As for the love interest, Char? HATE. While I could understand his character, and the purpose of his character, it didn’t stop me from cringing every time he was mentioned, from the moment he is introduced to Elise. I recognized his type from the start because he’s the exact type of guy I’ve always found myself attracted to and so of course I wanted to protect Elise from him. He was an interesting character, and the story was stronger because of his presence, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to strangle him. Repeatedly. This is one of the stories that will effect every person who reads it differently. Not everyone will be able to relate to Elise’s circumstances, but I think they will be able to relate to her loneliness and being misunderstood. This Song Will Save Your Life is a well written story, with an engaging plot and well-developed, genuine characters that I strongly encourage you all to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much. As soon as i opened it and saw the lyrics to "Wonderwall" by Oaisis i knew tg,hat it was going to be great. I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite books ive read.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Realy good
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Leila Sale’s This Song Will Save Your Life is an uplifting read about a teenager named Elise Dembowski, who is trying to figure out how to fit in. It begins with Elise, a hardworking but socially awkward girl starting high school, who is determined that this year, she is going to become cool. Of course, her plans of transforming herself into a cookie-cutter mold of a popular teenage girl fails miserably, and she is left to deal with the aftermath. The story follows Elise’s journey of self-identity and individuality, while illustrating her experiences with bullies, family, friendship, love, and the power of music. This book is realistic fiction and an easy read. Although it’s relatively short, it is geared to ages between late middle school to high school. This is because Elise’s experiences require mature readers for them to be fully understood, but also, readers who fall between this age range can emphasize with Elise’s feelings. Sale depicts the struggles of being a teenager today. She shows how although being different is looked down upon, that difference makes one who they are, and that being different is beautiful. She also delves into the importance of music, and how it can bring people together and bring a sense peace and security for a person. She shows both the idealistic and cynical nature of teenagers, and the volatile emotions of that so often characterize young adults. Sale’s writing often weaves in humor, and the storyline itself is mostly sound. However, I found the ending to be a bit unrealistic and cliche, and the story seemed to drag on. In addition, I was unsatisfied with some plot points, such as Elise’s relationship with her stepdad. However, in the end, this book made me ponder the twisted view of being “cool” in today’s society, and the storyline overall was fresh despite the few holes. I would rate this book 4 stars. Ultimately, it is a wonderful book with an essential message about self-identity and conformity, and the plot line is original and engaging. Review by Lauren A., age 14, Lone Star Mensa
katie2015 More than 1 year ago
I love reading this book. I think the way that Leila describes a lot of things is good because some of the authors of the other books that I have read were not really good about describing. I love your writing Leila. I think you are the  best author of a book that i have read out of all the books. And I am 13 years old, I have been reading for a while now. thank you for being an amazing author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is absolutly amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black Veil Brides is best band ever!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loooooved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and i think its a great story! There are points in the book where it does get a little boring. But overall I really liked the character development throughout the story, and i would definitely recommend for anyone who just wants a good book.
DahlELama More than 1 year ago
The first chapter made me want to go back to high school and hug everyone I know, just in case. The end made me cry twice. This book is really, really good, but more than anything, I'm just thrilled it exists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just got this book at the library yesterday and im on chapter five already! Its a great book if u urself just want to escape from everyone else(: makes u realize u are the way you are for a reason...great read &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"You think it's so easy to change yourself. "You think it's so easy, but it's not." Elise Dembowski has tried countless times to make herself better. Less different. Less precocious. Every time it's been a horrible failure. It turns out trading in her unicorn boots for normal sneakers, researching pop culture online, and wearing a new headband on the first day of school isn't enough. Nothing is ever enough. Elise is ready to give up. She can't go on like this--the punchline of every joke, the obvious target for every bully. With friends it might be bearable. But making friends, it turns out, is just as hard as becoming cool. Then one magical night something finally does change when Elise wanders into a warehouse dance party. At the party Elise also finds people who accept her; not some mainstreamed version of herself, not the invisible version or the fake one. Just her. In the midst of the party and the magic Elise also finds something almost as important: DJing. With a chance at real friends and something that makes her truly happy, Elise might be able to change herself after all in This Song Will Save Your Life (2013) by Leila Sales. There is so much to love in this story. This Song Will Save Your Life is an obvious read for music fans. (Sales includes a partial playlist at the end of the novel.) Even at her lowest, Elise remains a proactive, sympathetic heroine. She is capable and, above all, Elise is very much herself. While Elise is the powerhouse center of this novel, This Song Will Save Your Life is also peppered with fully realized secondary characters including Elise's very modern, very blended family and the absolutely delightful Vicky. Sales' writing has a verve and spark here that makes Elise's story infinitely compelling. Throughout the story Elise's narrative remains sharp and very well-focused. Although she is troubled, Elise remains extremely self-aware and always questions outcomes throughout the story in a way that is both effective and refreshing. This Song Will Save Your Life is a smart, witty story filled with as much enthusiasm and energy as any dance party. Possible Pairings: Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Looking for Alaska by John Green, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Laine-librariancanreadtoo More than 1 year ago
Elise is strange. She's different. She doesn't have any friends, her social life is non-existent and she is alone. A whole new year, a whole new classmates and Elise is going to be a whole new girl! She is going to be popular, she is going to be able to go on dates with guys, and she will never be alone ever again!!! That is until something happens that will make her feel even more alone than ever. She decides to do something that most teens her age do when life knocks them down. She cuts herself. Not only that, she calls someone that she thought might help but only makes things worse....well in her eyes anyway. Thinking Elise is done with trying to fit in, has accepted the fact that she has no talents what-so-ever, she does the one thing that most teens her age don't do.....accept it and try to breathe. So every night Elise will get out her house, plug in her iPod and walk all through her town. Alone with her thoughts, and especially alone with her music, music that SHE enjoys and no one can bother her. Till one night she stumbles upon a underground dance club that accepts people that are just like her....people are think they are nothing become something while being in this club, dancers and singers together come and sing their hearts out at this club. Elise has finally found the one place where she might belong, maybe even show her true talents as a DJ at the club. Then the whole comes back showing her other trials that she must face. But with this new found sense of being, will Elise cower like before? Or will she stand up for what she believes in? A great book for teens who are going through bullying or having suicidal thoughts. A great book even for those that love music for this  book has lots of great song selections that helps people in need find purpose again. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Elise is friendless, she is lonely and an outsider in every possible social scenario. And when life couldn't look any less dead-end, she discovers the magic of music at a warehouse party. The opportunity to DJ there opens up a chance to experience life in a whole new way. Maybe Elise isn't lost yet... Elise is only sixteen and she's already part of the DJ and nightclub scene. I didn't think her too young to go out to the warehouse parties she's attending, playing music, meeting new people. Scoring a DJ job was functioning like a therapy and as much as you hurt with Elise for everything that's happened to her so far, you also see that there's a bright future ahead if she just keeps doing what she loves. Having no friends in school, no one to turn to, never feeling accepted or even being bullied are very relevant for Elise's story. Everyone of us can in some way relate to this young girl and her thoughts about life, friendship and love. She's searching for meaning, unconsciously wanting help and waiting for that one moment that finally points her in the right direction. Music is of high importance for Elise's story, too. It has soothing and healing qualities, is her best friend in the worst moments of her life. As much as the music and the fascinating new DJ job are drawing you into the story, Elise's love story with the local DJ, Char, does the same. But unless the strong music parts, the romance lost me somewhere on its way. So I suggest you start THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE with the desire to fall in love with Elise's music rather than her love interest. 4/5 **** THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE – Leila Sales' third book is equipped with the perfect tune to touch many readers' hearts with its musical magic. THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is about Elise's favourite bands and songs and the music that influences her life. I'm not very into the music that she listens to. Reading about the power of the songs she plays, I know I have a lot of music education to make up for, starting with Elise's playlist now.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews. Maybe I expected more from a book with the title This Song Will Save Your Life, but I was a little disappointed. Not completely, but a little. Although Elise isn’t exactly a likeable character, she is easy to relate to. All she wants is to have friends. In this respect, she isn’t an overachiever. She doesn’t want to be popular (despite what the blurb says), but she wants friends. She wants to fit in somewhere. It’s a natural desire to want friends, people that understand you. In that way, she’s entirely relatable. But likeable? I’m not so sure. She felt judgmental and, indeed, stuck up. As someone that was a victim of bullying, you’d think she’d had a better idea of how to treat other people. Overall, I believe the book had a good message about finding yourself and accepting who you are. By the end, though, it fell flat for me. I don’t feel like it reached its full potential. I think I was looking for something a little bit deeper than what this book had to offer. I think it will be a hit for some and a miss for others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had just took time to write a review for this book because I absolutely adore it but something went wrong and my review just disappeared and I am way too lazy to rewrite it. So, I'm just going to tell you a short version of what I wrote.  I didn't plan on checking out this book but I did and this book blew me away. I started the book today and finished it today. I really enjoyed the entire thing.. just everything about the story and the characters made me love it. Oh, also I read other reviews and apparently many people do not like Char.  I don't see why but I absolutely loved him and the relationship he had with Elise. I kind of thought that the ending with this could have been better but it's all good.  10/10 (mostly). Would recommend! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. I was hooked from the very beginning, and felt as if me an elise were one. Not meing to sound weird but it is just such an inspirational book and is very movitating, heart wrenching and will keep u on the edge of ur seat. -LOTRWANNABE
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
 When this book released I had just come off a summer where I read nothing BUT contemps, so by then I needed a break. So I put it off until now when I had time to cheat and not read so many review books. And now I'm upset that I waited. I wish I had read this way back when because this book is full of everything that I've ever wanted in a contemp.  "'I had once thought that I wanted to get revenge by dying. But getting revenge by living, and living well, was much, much sweeter." 61% (Nook Book)      In this book I met Elise, a normal, awkward girl. She wasn't part of the "in-crowd" so in turn, the "in-crowd" put her through hell. Elise was a victim of bullying from fourth grade until sophomore year in high school. And then, she decided that was enough. She decided then that the best thing for everyone would be ending her own life. "'I'll pretend to be anyone or anything other than myself, but the problem is, no one is ever fooled."  75% (Nook Book)      What I liked about this book, is the fact that it features music, but people who aren't music junkies will still enjoy it. And that it features a huge issue like suicide, but it isn't JUST about her suicide. This is like a coming of age novel in the way that she finally finds where she fits in. Finally finds where she belongs. Everyone and anyone will love this book and Elise. She was such an amazing real character. "'Why are you letting your issues get in the way of your talent?" 80% (Nook Book)      I know I love a book based on the amount of emotions I have while reading it. And this one pulled out so many. When Elise was depressed, I was too. Teens can be so cruel to each other. And then when she got excoted about the DJ gig, I got excited too. I was so happy she had finally found somewhere that she fit in. And then when she felt a spark of something for Char, I felt that too. I knew she would like him when he took even the smallest interest in her. This book just felt so real. "'Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don't know yourself, very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn't you. That isn't you at all." 86% (Nook Book)      I think I connected to this book so well because I'm a huge music head. So as the song names came up, I listened to them as I read the scene and it anchored me even more in the story. Some of them I had already heard of and others I am new to, but all the same it helped me enjoy it a little bit more. "'There are dangers everywhere, I wanted to explain to her. On the shool bus, in the cafeteria, at Start, inside if me. No parent- no one at all- can step in and vanquish every one of them." 89% (Nook Book)      Just as the music made me closer to Elise, the music brought her closer to Pippa and Vicky. I was so happy that she found someone to be herself around and actually have a friend. And for it to be someone that actually understood a little of where she was coming from. Vicky had her own problems once upon a time, so her sharing her wisdom with Elise was something special. After reading this, I believe they found each other, to help each other. "'People are who they are and, try as you might, you cannot make them be what you want them to be." 96 % (Nook Book)      In a unique and witty voice, Sales attacks the important issue of suicide and all the ways that friendship, love, and even music can help to not send you over the edge.I'm already thinking of the thousand and one ways to incorporate this into a Beyond the Book post. Be on the lookout for one soon!
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
Being a fan of realistic fiction, I was excited to dive into this book. I have read a couple of great reviews before starting it, and I'm glad to say I was not disappointed! This Song Will Save Your Life talks about 16 year old Elise Dembowski, who has been a loner throughout her life. One summer, she was determined to learn "how" to become popular. Elise bought new clothes, learnt all the music, read all the fashion magazines, and so on. Too bad for her, things don't go as well as she expected when school started. What I liked about Elise is that she tried, and when it didn't work, she stopped. I did not want this book to be all about how she fits in, and gladly, it wasn't it. It was much more than that.Being in high school myself, I know how intimidating it can be. There are so many different people, and it takes time to actually find the people you click with. I understood Elise, and I was able to relate with her and understand her struggles. Elise is a brave character, and that's what I really liked about her. She had her music, and that's what kept her going. One night, she stumbles across a warehouse party, and that's when her world starts changing. It's great to see how you can change your life by doing what you love. Elise's passion and love for music was so strong, it was understandable that she only needed it to be happy. There were a lot of emotional parts in this book, but it just makes it much more realistic. I wasn't much a fan of the romance, but it wasn't much of a problem for me.Overall, This Song Will Save Your Life is a book about the teenage struggles, friendship, and doing what you love. I think it's a fantastic and inspiring book that all teenagers should get a chance to read. The characters were great, and there was no 'boring' part in the book. I will definitely be checking Leila Sales' other book, because I loved this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This wasn't a bad book. It entertained and had nothing but interesting side characters. I found the protagonist a little exhausting, but I give the writer props for having her go through an emotional journey, not only regarding her treatment at the hands of others, but her treatment OF others. I would say she's probably one of the least likable characters in the book, nevertheless. Although I wasn't at all wild about the resolution of the first romantic subplot, I liked the start of the second one a bit more. There's a few moments of WTFery throughout the book, yet it managed to stay pretty realistic at the same time. Points for that, too. This book hangs together pretty well despite my criticisms. It was just interesting.