thissongwillsaveyourlifeTitle: This Song Will Save Your Life


Author: Leila Sales

Publish date: September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Buy it from: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound | Books & Books

Goodreads summary:

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.


I’ve started and restarted my review of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. My thoughts seem inadequate. I didn’t know it was possible to connect this strongly with a book. To see myself in its pages so vividly.

Elise and high school-me led very different lives. I had close friends and passions. I was involved in clubs and hobbies. But still, a great deal of the time… I felt alone in a crowd. Different. Too different. Like I always said the wrong things, wore the wrong things, did the wrong things. I missed social cues that other people picked up on immediately. In high school, where the message feels like “conform or die,” I very often felt too close to the wrong end of the spectrum. I clung to my friends and my passions and they are what saved my life.

If I’d been Elise, who, at the beginning of the novel, has neither, I shudder to think what my life would have been like. Elise is at once her own best friend and her own worst enemy.

It was almost scary to see myself there in the pages of This Song Will Save Your Life– it meant that I felt everything more keenly than usual. Elise’s fragile hopes were mine, her mistakes were mine. There are some books where I can’t connect with a character, but it would have been impossible for me not to connect with brave Elise, who becomes, over the course of the novel, so strong in her own identity.

It was amazing to read a novel with a such a fleshed-out transformation thread– one that isn’t about getting “made over” or thrust into high school royalty. Elise, essentially, transforms into herself. 

I think a lot of people are going to relate deeply to this one.

There is a boy, but swoons aren’t what this book are about. It’s about some of the most important relationships that you can have: Friends. Family. Your relationship with yourself. Each character and relationship is drawn with so much unflinching honesty, flaws and all. Toxicity and all. I’d venture to say that not a single character– even the most minor– is one dimensional.

This Song Will Save Your Life was a book that left me raw, with the feeling that I wasn’t reading it, so much as it had read me.

Need a second opinion?

“I think if you’ve ever been the awkward kid, which is a total possibility because maybe, like me, you like books more than you like most people, you’ll be able to relate to Elise.” – Good Books and Good Wine

“This is one of those books that simply must be read.” -I Swim For Oceans

“It took me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.” – Lili’s Reflections