Review 218. Leila Sales - This song will save your life.

15777621Title: This song will save your life.
Author: Leila Sales.
Pages: 288.
Published:  September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Sort: Stand-alone.
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.
Rating:

“Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn’t you. That isn’t you at all.”

I don’t read many contemporaries. There are several reasons for that, but after seeing many positive reviews I was too curious. This also happened with John Green – The fault in our stars and since that book was a huge success for me, I decided to give this one a shot. It’s fun to branch out every now and then and I am so happy I did it. This story touched me on an emotional and personal level. I must admit that it was a bit.. tough sometimes, but I love the message this book contains.

I’m sorry that there is such a personal touch in this review. I don’t want it to be all about ‘me’, but this had to be said.

“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. What do you think it takes to reinvent yourself as an all-new person, a person who makes sense, who belongs? They will still see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, still too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always, wrong. Change all you want: you can’t change that. I know, because I tried.”


Elise is an outsider. A lonely girl who struggles with her identity, because all she wants is to belong somewhere. To be someone. She even tries to change herself, her clothing and her interests, but nothing works. People pick on her and after a cry for help, she is even more shunned than before. That is until she meets Pippa and Vicky on a midnight stroll. They introduce her to the party world of Start, where she soon has the opportunity to DJ together with Char. Elise finally has a feeling she fits; she has found her place in life.

“I didn’t need to be the most exciting, beautiful, beloved girl in the world. I just needed not to be me anymore.”

I had a very strong feeling at the beginning of this book. The whole situation of being lonely and trying to change yourself comes close to a period in my life where I wasn’t in a happy place in school. I was a shy, insecure child while growing up, I didn’t have many friends and people were so unkind about the way I looked. I know exactly how Elise felt. The fact that she starts to feel happy and comfortable with herself by music is something I can identify with; I had the same things with reading.

There were also a couple of things she does that are unfamiliar for me, but it wasn’t hard to understand her behaviour. I must admit that it made the middle part a little less interesting, but it was still good and strong. It was fun to read Elise’s voice, because she is so smart, strong and sweet. It was also fantastic to see how she develops into someone who is proud of herself - and that too reminded me of myself. You can see, Elise is a very relatable character I think everyone can connect with.

The ending is again a part where this book shined. The message in this book is something we need to see more. It touched me and gave me the feeling that: yes, I need to be proud of myself and yes, I need to stop feeling insecure. This book is definitely a feel-good story at the end and I highly recommend to read it.

“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. True, things don’t stay the same forever. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions – but always at last is returns to you. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn’t that – just you- enough?”

43 comments

  1. I have so much love for this book! It seems like a lot of us booklovers can relate to the feeling of not really fitting in, I know I can. I absolutely loved the ending as well!
    Also: I'm so happy we got to meet! And that we're doing book club and you'll actually be there next time! :) So if you're ever feeling like you don't belong in the blogging world, just remember that us book club ladies are here for you <3

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    1. Thank you Daisy <3 I'm so happy I got and get to meet you guys!

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  2. All the reviews that I've read of this book are "raving". Since I am choosing to read lighter stuff this December, I will up this on my TBR pile. Terrific review, Mel!

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    1. It's heavy and light at the same time, because of the hopeful vibe :)

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  3. It sounds a lot a like a Sarah Dessen book.I love realistic fiction and books that give me a message,so I think maybe I should check this one out.
    Great review,Mel.

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    1. Sarah Dessen, might need to take a look at her work!

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  4. Ngawwww I love this review Mel!<3 This book also touched me on a personal level; I also know how it feels to be lonely and not feel like I belong within the community (whether it be blogging or friendship circles). I love the message this book sends as well.. It's something I'm personally working towards :) Glad you liked this so much Mel!

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    1. It's great how books can translate our feelings and bring people together, right :D?

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  5. Been hearing so many good feedback & now I'm really intrigued. I might read it soon. Awesome review, Mel. <3

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  6. Ahhh, I've heard so many amazing things about this book and I really like feel-good stories/endings (I also like contemporary, so no problem there) so yeah, I think I'd really enjoy this - sounds like just my type of book. Great review! :)

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    1. Based on what you say here, I think you'll love it :)

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  7. I still have this one on my tbr pile, but it sounds amazing and definitely something YA needs more of. I love books that can reach me at a personal level.

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    1. I normally don't read those type of books, but this one was worth it.

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  8. I have this on my tbr pile glad to hear it is so good!

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  9. Mel I love that you added a personal touch to this review! At the core of this book is something that everyone deals with to some degree - insecurity. I felt for Elise in so many ways and it reminded me of times when I was picked on, wanting to change, feeling down. And I just love the message that came through in the end. This is such a marvelous book and I am glad you branched out to read this one :) :)

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    1. Thanks! And braching out is something we all must do now and then :)

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  10. Yay, I'm glad you loved this one too Mel! (:
    Ha ha, I don't know why I haven't thought of this before, but Elise's music is our books! Without books, life would be hard.
    And I know what you mean. I sometimes feel like I don't belong in the blogging world either (or honestly, real life), but like you, I'm also putting myself out there. I'm glad it's paying off for you Mel! :D

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    1. I'm glad about that too. It's sometimes scary :p

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  11. I've been seeing very mixed reviews for this one, but I'm glad to see you liked it! I, too, understand the being lonely and trying to change yourself, so I may connect well. I definitely want to try it in the next year!

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  12. Awww Mel, thanks for sharing your story with us. I hope that you have found your place in the book blogging world, you should be proud of what you have achieved so far. I loved The Fault in Our Stars and have been enjoying contemporaries lately, and no doubt this one would be amazing too. Thanks for sharing Mel!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. You are welcome Jeann :) It's sometimes good to show more of yourself and I do feel proud for what I've done so far!

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  13. I'm so glad you loved this book because I just started to read it today =) I'm even more excited now! Thanks for the review Mel =)

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  14. I've been meaning to buy this book for a while now!
    This review is probably one of the best I have read. Honestly. You described exactly how I felt! I really need to get this book!
    That quote at the end is perfect! It's beautiful and so raw!

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  15. Wow this sounds like one that would be really touching. Not my kind of read but it does sound great!

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    1. It's normally not my type of read either, but it was eye-opening!

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  16. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this one. My review had a personal touch on it too, haha :P It is so true that This Song Will Save Your Life has a message that needs to be told more often, and I also loved seeing Elise grow more proud of herself and find herself with DJing. Great review!

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    1. Yes, I wish more books contained the message: )

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  17. I really loooved this book too -- so glad that it didn't disappoint you! I managed to relate so much to Elise and at times it felt like I was reading my own life due to the crazy similarities but this book also taught me to appreciate myself more. It was a touching read and I cried lots of times during the second half. While Elise's character development is superb, what I loved even more in this book is how the romance turned out! I love all the quotes you included in this review, Mel! Awesome review :D

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    1. The first and last part made me tear up a little ;)

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  18. I loved everything about this book, but you're right about wanting to see more endings like this. I was SO glad that it didn't end with some sort of HEA and that the romance fizzled out. There's a possible future ship, but the book was about HER journey, not about romance. Love love love.

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    1. Yes, sometimes books are SO centered around romance..

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  19. YAY :D I'm glad you mostly loved it Mel. <3 Also, *Hugs* <3 I too loved this book. Sigh. It was pretty heartbreaking and real. I loved it :)

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    1. Funny to see how we all are able to connect with her!

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  20. Those are some gorgeous quotes you chose, Mel. I love a book with a moral, and it sounds like the ending delivers just that. Elise seems like a great protagonist because I think we can all relate to her somehow.

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    1. Yes, there is so much wisdom in this book :)

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  21. I am like you. I am not big on contemporaries as well. I prefer to read Fantasy and Dystopian books. But after reading Pushing The Limits, I know that the said genre is becoming a favorite. This book really sound confrontational. I am like Elise too. I am shy and I also experienced getting bullied because of how I looked.

    I am just thankful that I really got good friends while I was suffering from the said situation that I survived the ordeal.

    I'm gonna place this book on my TBR but I don't think I'm gonna be reading it soon. It's so sad and Christmas is already approaching, I don't think I want to start the holidays with so much sadness. Bahahaha.

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    1. Yes, it was a confrontation, but it was good. Haha, I think it's better to wait a little!

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  22. I am such a fan of a book that reminds us that we need to love ourselves, no matter what. Be proud of who we are and own it! GAH. I'm fist pumping and I haven't even read this book!

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    1. Me too, it's great when a book contains such a message!

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