This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life

by Leila Sales
4.5 26


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This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

A powerful coming-of-age story about an outsider who finds herself when she enters the underground music scene.

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 powerful young adult coming of age novel is an exuberant story about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

“Heartbreaking, heartfelt, and eventually heart-lifting, this YA novel is one I won’t soon forget. If you’re a music junkie who also loves YA, read it alongside Len Vlahos’s The Scar Boys or Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park.” —Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop

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

“Readers will be fascinated and touched by the first-person voice because of what is roiling beneath it. . . . Teens will connect with [Elise] viscerally.” —Booklist, starred review

“Sales gets everything right.” —

A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults

A BuzzFeed Best YA Book of the Year

A CCBC Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374351380
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 382,936
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: HL720L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About 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. 26 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.
BoundlessBookaholic 15 days ago
Absolutely loved this audiobook. Elise was an interesting main character; I couldn't stop listening on my road trip, and then today to finish the last CD. The narrator was good, and the storyline kept me intrigued. I'd highly recommend this one. I loved most of the people from Start. I'll definitely be re-reading this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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
You opened. I'm glad. My name is Sara and I'm 16. I would like to talk to someone. Please respond to CSOANRNAER989. Or if u want just CS for short. I'll explain the weird long name if u chat with me.
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!