This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales


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.


My goodness. This book was SO GOOD. Maybe even the best book I’ve read all year. I started reading it earlier today, and well… now it’s 2 am, and I still have other things I need to do, but I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

This book spoke to me. Yeah, I don’t have the PROBLEMS that Elise does. And I could only dream of gaining the kinds of experiences that she did. Can something like Start fall in my lap?! If I were a character in this book, I’d sadly be Amelia. Boring, nice, vanilla. While Elise goes through everything in overdrive; everything is MORE. Yeah, there’s so much more hurt, but so much more happiness too. This book breathes life. This book makes me want to live.

This book made me cry, too. I think everyone can think back to those teenage years and remember not fitting in, feeling as if no one else understands, and finding that one thing that saved their life. I’m so glad Elise found DJing as a reason to live. I’m so glad she found friends and made experiences and learned to live. We start the book with Elise trying so hard to fit in, and by the end, she’s blossomed (even if her life wound up being nothing like she initially pictured).

This Song Will Save Your Life also covered a lot of hard-hitting issues. Like understanding the consequences for actions, for example. While Elise found a way to cope with her problems, it was unsustainable and unhealthy for a long time. I’m glad certain events occurred for everything to bubble to the surface and get handled in a constructive (albeit a little convenient) way. And I cried so hard when her mom and stepfather confronted her after what she did to her sister, but it was justified, I suppose. I can understand if some of her issues stemmed from that kind of thing though. But everyone has issues, don’t they? (Look at Vicky’s story here.) And even at the beginning, with the whole self-harm thing (no spoiler tag because this literally happens within the first few pages) — there were consequences, and Elise was still trying to deal with them months later. But at least she was dealing with them. And she found ways to be happy.

Bully was a big thing in this book too, and it was pretty accurate. So many kids are sheep, following whatever a few deem to be “cool.” Elise separates herself from the whole popularity-quest (after like, the first day at school), while so many others engage in the games of high school. But high school doesn’t have to matter if you don’t let it, and I’m glad this YA-book wasn’t centred around high-school life. Because there’s more to life than that, and things get better when they’re bad… so long as you take steps to make life better. Some of the mean things people did seemed unrealistic though. But the cyberbullying situation seemed accurate. The vice-principal couldn’t really do anything, and Elise’s parents couldn’t really do anything, but someone like Emily Wallace could — because that’s pretty much how high school works.

I felt like there were a couple loose ends though (like with Ms Wu, her teacher). And I thought Char would’ve been so much more. But I guess people hardly ever match to your expectations of them. This is all tangential. If there’s one message to take away, it’s this: read this book. Who knows, maybe it will save your life.

Related Reading

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (oldies music, making older friends who make life better)
  • Just Listen- Sarah Dessen (music = power)
  • This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen

Rating: 5/5


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