[ARC Review] This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: September 17th, 2013
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Contemporary

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.


This Song Will Save Your Life (aka TSWSYL) easily becomes one of my favorite books of the year, one of the best contemporaries that I ever read. Everything in this book is so relatable and believable I could even see a movie playing inside my head when I was reading.

The MC Elise is such an amazing heroine. Sure she has her own flaws but her voice is so realistic and I had no trouble relating to her. I haven’t been through as many things as Elise, but there were times that I agreed with her points, understood her feelings. There were sentences and paragraphs that made me stopped reading for a while and stared at my laptop screen and read them over and over again because I couldn’t stop myself from comparing to my personal experience.

“I was not going to give up. This was a new year, I was a new girl, and I was going to use the next thirty-five minutes to make new friends.”

(Yes. I seriously thought that too on the first day of middle school. On the first day of every term actually. I’ve always been a naturally shy person so yeah… expect me not to make friends easily in real life…)

My social problem isn’t as big as Elise, definitely not so big that I ever think of suicide, but Elise’s attempt of committing suicide seems pretty reasonable to me. In my opinion, when you see it from the outside, it’s so easy to say that suicide isn’t the answer. But this time around, we get to see it from the inside – a mind so desperate – a girl who is facing a problem so big, a girl who feels unloved and rejected… And Leila Sales manages to depict Elise’s emotion genuinely.

I don’t see this book as an entertaining read, I see this book as an emotional read but occasionally, Elise’s funny side makes brief appearances.

“I mean, yes, I wanted to look like a cool person, but I didn’t want to become impoverished in the process.”


“Furthermore, if I tried to overdose but didn’t succeed, then I would run the risk of living, but being severely brain damaged. I am already socially disabled; I didn’t need to be mentally disabled on top of that.”

This isn’t an unpopular-girl-gets-a-hot-guy typical kind of story. While there’s also romance, This Song Will Save Your Life is more like a journey-to-find-and-accept-yourself kind of book. Elise is an outcast in her school. She tried committing suicide once but she failed and some time later she discovered new friends and her passion for DJing. Elise’s character development is brilliant, the story itself is brilliant, asdfghkl everything was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. I could just talk about how amazing this book was and quote every passage that I found extremely relatable but then this review would be too long cause I might end up quoting the whole freaking book. YES IT’S THAT GOOD.

Okay now my review is starting to get a bit uncontrollable.

I loved every single character in this book. I loved Vicky, Harry, Mel and even Char and Pippa – they all play a part in “changing” Elise. I loved how the romance turns out and that made me admire Elise even more. Oh my gosh and the ending is perfect too. I cannot ask anything more from this book. It was such a perfection and I cried several times and I tell you what – I DON’T usually cry when I read and I didn’t cry when I read TFIOS (just got a bit teary). But This Song Will Save Your Life was such a touching book I got tears all over my face on the last 100 pages. Everyone should read this book – it was inspirational, realistic, extremely relatable… I think I ran out of adjective to describe this fantastic read.

Wow. Now I’m craving for more Leila Sales’s books.

Thank you so so much, Macmillan, for giving me an opportunity to read and review this magnificent book. But trust me, this doesn’t affect my opinion at all. And note that the quotes are taken from eARC edition so no guarantee that they won’t be altered or removed from the finished copy.



  1. I’m really looking forward to this one! I loved her book Past Perfect, though it sounds like that one was funnier than this one. It sounds like Sales handles some heavy topics with lots of class and I can always dig that! Thanks for the very enthusiastic review!


  2. When two socially awkward people come together, they become friends (or create a bigger awkward bubble but scenario one is better). That is my life. I feel for you, girl. I’m the most socially awkward person in my class but I’m proud to be the person reading in the corner.. That makes me sound terrible; never mind that. I think I would relate really well to this book. Great review, Kezia, and I think I’ll have to check this book out!

    -Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words


    1. Yes! I hope you’ll love this one as much as I did! I am socially awkward myself, especially around new people but I realize that I can be really noisy with my friends!!


    1. Absolutely! I was just speechless when I wrote this review last month XD but seriously, whatever I say cannot describe the book’s greatness so lemme just put things clear: GO READ THIS BOOK <33


    1. Haha! I never stumble upon “Alise” but this one is pretty close! And Alice too xD I don’t think I will ever find my name in a book though. I’m guessing some people might have trouble pronouncing it .___.


  3. This book is definitely for me. First off, I loove contemporary books! I LOVE the MC already and I haven’t even read it. I’m positive that I will be able to relate with her because honestly I’ve had suicidal thoughts before but I’ve never tried..just thought. I love how there’s character development and she’s a DJ? Woah! That’s really awesome (: will get my hands on this soon. Amazing review, I’m really glad you liked it.

    Little Book Star


    1. Awww Leigh I hope you’ll love this book! 😀 I’m sure at some point you’ll recognize that feeling that you can never put into words and there you have it, Leila Sales describing that feeling for you. And yes! The DJ-learning part was pretty interesting!


  4. Very envious you got to read an ARC of it 😀 I got rejected but preordered it after seeing a positive review on it haha and I’m so glad you enjoyed it too 😀 What really draws me to this book is the main character and how she develops and grows throughout the story. Plus the fact that it’s emotional and touching helps 😉 Thanks for the great review Kezia!


    1. Yes, having the physical copy is a must for me! I’m considering buying it online once it has been released simply because I don’t like preordering stuff xD I hope you’ll love it as much as I did, Charlotte! :3 this was a really touching book and I felt nostalgic.


  5. Haha I love a good quotable book! I’ve heard so many great things about this one I’m super excited to get started on it! It sounds so beautifully written and with fantastic characters which is a must for me for contemporaries. So happy you loved it, too!


    1. Hope you’ll enjoy this, Giselle! Can’t wait to see your thoughts on it 🙂 the writing was indeed beautiful and I adored all of the characters!


  6. Awww, I can so tell how much you loved this book through this great review! It doesn’t sound like the type of book I’d enjoy but I’m glad you loved it! I absolutely love it when a book provides you with a vast range of side characters that you can relate to and adore – it really adds another layer to the overall story.

    Thanks for sharing this great review! 😀


    1. True that! <3 Thanks, Rachel! How side characters are written can give more impact about the story 🙂


  7. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ I LOVE YOUR FANGIRLING! The synopsis was already so amazing to me! I can relate to you and to her on so many levels. I am really awkward (ha-ha) and making friends is hard for me because somehow it seems like people judge me before they even get to know me. (<–proud to be a social outcast right here!) So I definitely understand the extent of her and you. <3 But I am so glad that she made such amazing people (or i think they are) and so happy you finally found an amazing book to read! HUZZAH! Took a while but there ya have it! (▰˘◡˘▰) Aww this story seems so sweet and lovely and emotional and everything I need. Cause I am in need of a good book right now.

    P.S. I hope those exams at school aren’t weighing you down too much of stress! I’m sure you’ll do fine on them are did fine (whatever tense is needed please insert). ♪ ♬ ヾ(´︶`♡)ノ ♬ ♪


    1. Awww thanks Delaney <33 I am really awkward and a shy and quiet girl in the first place. Which is probably why I don’t THAT many friends at school, although I’m on good terms with almost everybody. This book has definitely made me to appreciate all my friends, numbers don’t matter. It’s much better to have not many friends but you can count on them instead of a gazillion full of fake people who talk bad behind your back 🙂

      I’m halfway through my exams and they will be over next Tuesday! I think I am gonna get really bad grade at physic but I’m pretty good with the others. Finger crossed I can do well on my sociology and biology exams 😉 and after they’re all finally over, I’m so stocked to read all the books I got this month! 😀


  8. Great that you loved it! I loved it too but it seems you loved it much more than me 😛 It does capture the emotions very exceptionally. I totally felt for the heroine as well. And yes for the quotes <3


    1. Leila Sales seems like an amazing author since she could depict Elise’s emotions well. I’m gonna try her other books too! I feel like I wanna write down all the quotes. I will order a copy when it’s released <3


  9. Oh gosh, I adored this book to pieces. It was just. that. amazing. It’s not funny, yes, but at the same time it does have some hilarious lines. Man, I think I ate it in one day, it was just not okay to put it down. Love, love, love. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge