Book Review: "This Song Will Save Your Life" by Leila Sales

Elise Dembowski just doesn’t understand. She has always figured out a way to accomplish what she wants with hard work and study. But when she tries to learn about what’s cool and how to make friends – she fails miserably. She has never really had any friends, and has been the subject of some cruel jokes and bullying by her classmates. Elise hits rock bottom and reacts drastically. The thing with rock bottom though, is that if you live through it – you can start to climb up and out of your pit of despair. Elise starts to do just this – and while things are no better at school – she discovers an entire new life waiting for her at night. She finds her passion, and sets out to learn all she can about being a DJ. But in order to fully come into her own, she needs to defeat her deeply ingrained insecurities… and that isn’t as easy as learning how to read a crowd.

Music is such a universal force – it has power to bring people together, to get people to listen, to get people to move and maybe even sing along. Music can either reinforce or change your mood, depending on what you are looking for. Songs can invoke long lost memories or become the soundtrack to memories being formed right now. Music has always been in Elise’s life, through her father’s influence… but it becomes so much more – it becomes her lifeline. I love to have a main character that you really have to root for – and Elise is just such a character. Her transformation throughout this book is remarkable – and I loved cheering her every step of the way! She has so much to learn about relationships/friendships, confidence, and self-esteem, but she luckily gets some help in those departments. Personally, Vicky and Mel were my favorites. It isn’t an easy journey for Elise, and she does suffer some setbacks… she is still fragile and every setback could be the one that breaks her. So you hold your breath, keep cheering her on, and hope she makes it through to see another day.

This book was so much fun to read. The writing feels so fresh and new, that the book seems to be alive somehow. And if you are a fan of indie rock from the 80s and 90s (think Smiths, New Order, Dexys Midnight Runners, etc) – you are sure to love all the musical references as well!

This Song Will Save Your Life
by Leila Sales
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013
288 pages
Source:  ARC from the publisher
Links for purchase:

The Book Depository

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