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


Publisher: Square Fish

Date of Publication: April 14, 2015

Dates Read: December 2015


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.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

My Rating: ★★★★★

I don’t know what I expected from this book, but it wasn’t this. I wasn’t expecting my heart to hurt so much, to care so much. I stopped studying for a final the night before in order to finish this book. That’s how much I enjoyed it.

Also, trigger warnings: suicide, depression, bulimia is mentioned, and if I’m forgetting something please let me know so I can add it here.

I read the blurb for this book a long time ago, but for some reason I don’t remember it, so being thrown into Elise’s depression and thoughts of suicide caught me off guard. Sometimes it was hard to read it – I’ve been fortunate enough to never have experienced what she felt – but I kept going, because I figured it would help me better understand people in real life who do feel this way. I don’t want to say her feelings were well written, since I’ve never experienced it before, but to me it was very vivid and I could almost feel it myself.

As for the events, I’m very happy with how things turned out. It wasn’t a straightforward path to the end; Just when you thought things were finally going to work out, something went wrong. People are mean, Elise gets caught, feelings are hurt. And I like that the ending isn’t a perfect happy ending. There are still relationships lost and ones that need to be repaired, but the parts of Elise’s life that were wrapped up were good choices to talk about in the end. Enough to come to a conclusion, but not enough for it to be a happily ever after.

I very much enjoyed the characters. They just felt so real, and none of them were perfect. Elise mentioned that people can be nice, but they’re not necessarily the kind of people you want to be friends with. That complexity is really refreshing to read about, because oftentimes it’s the nicest people who everyone wants to be friends with. But people are never that simple, life’s never that simple, and this book portrays that beautifully.

I could feel Elise’s growth throughout the book. A couple of chapters in she became my baby and I wanted to make sure she ended up okay.

Also, I like that this is about a less-conventional hobby. Usually people find their voices in singing, acting, but DJ-ing is not brought up in a lot of the books I’ve read, so seeing into that life was really neat.

Overall: A powerful, beautiful story that I’m glad I’ve finally read.

This review was originally posted on my booklr on December 17th, 2015.


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