This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Release Date: September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)

Genres: Contemporary

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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.

My Review.

Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and 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.

Reading this book was both the best and worst experience for me. The most prevalent emotion I felt was frustration. I was frustrated with the story, I was frustrated with the characters, I was frustrated with Elise’s situation. But I was most frustrated with how it felt like I was reading my very own biography.

Elise Dembowski is unpopular. She’s the subject of constant bullying by her peers, and things only got worse when she tried to kill herself at the beginning of the school year. She sworn off making any friends until she stumbles upon a warehouse party and discovers her hidden passion: DJing.

Up until now, I thought I would never meet a character I could genuinely relate with. With Elise, I didn’t sympathise with her situation; I was in her situation.

During my freshman year of high school, I was exposed to the big and dangerous world. I didn’t know anyone because I had transferred schools. It wasn’t long until I was making new friends, but I was also making a new version of myself. I was turning into someone I didn’t know because I had wanted to be like everybody else. Of course, my definition of everybody else was twisted: someone who curses like it’s a second language, someone who judges people, someone awful. I had become like that all because of my need for acceptance.

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.

And just like Elise, I turned to the only constant thing I know: music. It became my escape. My playlist was what set me apart from everyone. It was that one thing that nobody else knows about. For me, music played a big role in helping me cope with my loneliness.

I’m sorry if this review veered towards the personal. This book made such a huge impact on me that I can’t not express my intense feelings. I’m almost tempted to call this The Perfect YA novel just because it was realistic in every aspect possible; from the characters to Elise’s emotions. I also must applaud Sales for writing something so special and now dear to my heart.

I hope this book reaches more people out there who are like me, and need to be reassured that they are not alone in this world.

P.S. This review wouldn’t be complete without a song, of course. There’s actually one song that “saved my life”. It’s called Kitchen Sink by Twenty One Pilots. It’s about finding purpose and treasuring that purpose. The lyrics are so brutally honest and emotional raw that I can’t help but tear up a little because they speak to me. These are the words I’ve been trying to say but couldn’t.

I’m a kitchen sink

You don’t know what that means

Because a kitchen sink to you

Is not a kitchen sink to me, okay friend?

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13 thoughts on “This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

  1. I’m so glad this book resonated with you. I think that’s what an author wants, really. To make you feel, as a reader, that you aren’t the only one feeling the things you’re feeling.

  2. I really enjoyed this book, and I enjoyed your review too! This book was such a rewarding read, I found. I admired the portrayal of the relationships (both in friendship and romantic) especially.

  3. Oh, Miggy, I’m glad this resonated with you so much. I think there’s something special about stumbling upon a book that speaks to the person inside you. And, yes, a person’s taste for music is more telling than what he shares through words, I guess. It’s intimate that way.

    PS. Wow. That first quotation is powerful.

  4. I know a girl that moved from Australia to where I go to school in Canada. At first, she was really nice and down to Earth and now, all she cares about is makeup and her instagram likes. I liked her before because she had a personality but then she completely dropped me to reinvent herself.

    Maybe Elise’s perspective in this book can lessen my anger towards this girl? I don’t know. All I know is that I could definitely relate to Elise because in a way, all of us want to be HEARD and acknowledged so some of us will do whatever it takes for that to happen. Teenagers EVERYWHERE will be able to relate to a story like this which is why I really enjoyed it.

  5. The story, by how you reviewed it, freaked me out a little. Also, you perfectly described me back when I was in my first year in highschool as a transferee.

  6. Thanks for sharing your personal side here, Miguel. I wanted to read this two years ago but there’s just a long list of books that I want to read as well. Anyway, what’s important is that you were able to connect with the character and that gave your honest opinion in this review; I really appreciated that. 🙂

  7. You know, it’s really wonderful because so many of the reviews for this book have shared something personal about the writer. Even my review for this one had a personal anecdote in it about my yearning to fit in and having no really close friends. It really strikes a cord, doesn’t it? I feel like every teenager has experienced that need to fit in and doing whatever just to get that acceptance. I’m glad you shared something personal, Miguel!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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