This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales

bibliocai_'s review against another edition

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Sometimes you just have those days where everything goes wrong. But sometimes, and totally unexpectedly, something can go right.

emilyanne3000's review against another edition

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This book physically hurt to read. Elise's struggles weren't fiction or fantasy; they were real. The bullying, the awareness of being odd, and the silent, friendless days at school are realities for many. Her feelings of loneliness and hopelessness were acute like a knife wound. Sometimes the scariest books are the ones that take place in the world we live in.

This Song Will Save Your Life is not all doom and gloom though. There is music and dancing! And, most importantly, there's hope. Elise's voice is charming and witty. Her little sister and her newfound friends at Start were all so lovable. In fact, Elise's journey to becoming a DJ was so inspiring and fun.

The end isn't rosy and perfect, but it holds a bright promise for all the teenagers who have felt out of place. While the book had sad parts, the book itself is not sad. It is a story of life and all its ups and downs.

I am amazed at how Leila Sales has so realistically portrayed the life of a so-called misfit. One just has to look at the various Goodreads reviews to see how much Elise has resonated with readers. The wonderfully written book was an eye opening experience.

gracelin_poorna's review against another edition

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A very exciting book, definitely kept me very invested in her life and shed light on mental health issues as well. Definitely recommend!!

bookowl's review against another edition

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Cute story. A little unbelievable in parts.

bflolydia's review against another edition

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Apparently I read this a long time ago but forgot! No time currently to invest in books I’ve already read. It was good though!

merlin_reads's review against another edition

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 I had heard very mixed reviews regarding this title and I definitely think that it's one where other people's opinions will not help you. Each person will be affected differently by the subject matter - whether you like it or not.

16 year old Elise Dembowski feels the world doesn't see her, doesn't care that she's there, and she just wants to fit in somewhere. When a new outlook on life gets her nowhere, she decides to end it but that plan goes awry and leads Elise down a path that she never expected - finding solace somewhere she never should have been in the first place.

This book had me feeling many things - anger was one of them. Anger at the adults for not recognizing bullying, anger at Elise for the way she treated other people, anger at Elise's parents for not getting their daughter the help she needed - how, how do you not realize your teenage daughter is sneaking out of the house every night??? But I also felt sadness, sadness because I have felt like Elise at times and that type of loneliness is hard to get rid of.

For most of the book, at least for me, Elise was not a very likable character. She was too stuck inside herself and unable to see that she had people who cared about her. She attracted bad habits to her instead of seeking out the good. She pushed people away when inside she was screaming for someone to notice her. But despite this, the point of the story came across stronger because of this.

I am glad that more and more books are coming out that deal with the issues people don't want to talk about. High school is one of the most hardest of times for many people and books like these can make you feel like you're not alone. It's not perfect, but really, what is the perfect way to deal with depression? 

someonesomebody's review

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


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choso's review against another edition

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When I first heard about This Song Will Save Your Life, I must admit, I was unsure that it would be my cup of tea. In the end I gave it a read because so many people had recommended it and said it was good. I didn't have any expectations and I kept very open-minded.

I really love music. I love listening to music, and I have a very eclectic taste. Music is definitely a big part of my life.

I think I liked Elise, at least towards the end. She doesn't fit in at school because she's different, and while I could understand and sympathise with her wanting at least a little attention from someone kind, it was very difficult to relate to her. However I do think that she was very authentic and hats off to Leila for being able to write her so. I think the issue of suicide and bullying was handled extremely well and it was sensitive but also powerful, which was good.

This book is definitely character driven, and Elise's development was really great to read about. I admired her dedication and motivation, and the self assuredness that she managed to find at the end of the book was really uplifting. Of course, she makes her mistakes but that only serves to strengthen her, which was also really great to read.

Now, I don't like drinking or dancing so a nightclub is my idea of a nightmare (and I can sort of say that now that I have been to my first house party (I remained 100% sober, might I just add)), yet I actually really want to go to Start. It was just so much fun to read about and it lifted Elise's spirits so much that it seems like such a great place to be, where people are not judgmental and you can be your own person, and I am SO in favour of that. That was one thing I did not expect to come out of reading this book, so that was a surprise! A good one, though (and also one that I probably won't carry out).

Overall, This Song Will Save Your Life was a great book. I most heartily recommend that you give it a read as soon as possible! You won't be disappointed.

kimberleysbookmark's review against another edition

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I liked Elise and her story. I kept thinking that it was going to go down the typical HEA path where all of sudden everything works out. That did and didn't happen and it was nice not being able to figure it out.

emjrasmussen's review against another edition

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Forget Sarah Dessen; Leila Sales is the real royalty of contemporary YA standalones. Her debut had me laughing out loud on every page, and her sophomore is almost as good, but This Song Will Save Your Life officially catapults her into a position of glory among other realistic fiction regality, a spot she has proven she deserves.

Her main qualification is this: no other author can make a novel that revolves primarily around self-discovery as exciting and engaging as Sales can. Her books always have some kind of hook that makes them true to life, but in a supercharged, never boring way, and in this case, DJing adds this vital boost to the plot.

A tale that could have been repetitive had it been handled differently, Elise's story never has a dull moment as it switches between the oppressive place that is high school and the nightclub that brings her to life, and the contrast between the dim dirtiness and the pulsating crowd, ostracization and acceptance, and numbness and vitality is fascinating. Readers can easily visualize this place where the protagonist finds a surrogate home, and I loved being transported into a new world I have never experienced in real life. Sales accomplishes this perfect painting of scenery by comparing it to the outside world, making it seem increasingly enticing every time Elsie visits, and in doing so, brings the drama that happens there to life. Readers will be sucked into the relationships-the rocking as well as the rocky-that unfold there, becoming invested in what becomes of each of its frequenters and slipping soundlessly into their fights, friendships, romances, and more.

The best part of this setting, though, is the way it allows the protagonist's development to build as she grows more and more animated and connected through music. Songs serve as not only the perfect bridge for Elise's character development, but the ideal way to create an interesting setup that screams, "Here is an even that sparked my coming of age story" rather than simply, "Here is my coming of age story." This, even more than the nightclub's vibrant imagery and hooking events, is what allows the self-actualization idea to come across in such an easy way; Elsie's confidence builds naturally with her DJing expertise, which provides This Song Will Save Your Life with a fitting quirk its main character can use to grow.

And throughout everything, Sales creates a perfect voice in which the story is told: often hilarious, sensitive when needed, and always realistic. This Song Will Save Your Life is just as comical as the author's previous books, but it does deal with darker topics relating to depression and family issues that will strike a chord-figuratively, of course-with many readers, adding another reason why this book is so relatable. The smiles resulting from the witty jokes and the emotions radiating from all Elise's insecurities provide the final grab that refuses to let readers turn away, and this signature writing style never fails to carry whatever creative ideas it supports.

At its heart, this is a book about a wandering teen learning to rock next to the dance floor as well as in life. Realistic enough to be recognizable and different enough to be alluring, This Song Will Save Your Life not only takes its protagonist through this perfectly paced metamorphosis, but leaves readers feeling as if they have just experienced the same thing. I cannot recommend this author (this novel in particular) enough to anyone looking for a true-to-life story that will cradle his or her attention, and I will continue demand everyone read this rollicking and bittersweet book.

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