Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by 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.


I was sent a proof copy of this book for review from the fabulous people at Macmillan Children’s Books UK and was so very glad to receive it.  I’ve always loved my music and it’s played a big part in my life and growing-up years.  Even the title of this book had me drawn in so I was more than happy to accept a copy to review.

Elise is an oddball in her own life, not fitting-in at school, no close friends and her divided family loving her but maybe not understanding her.  She decides that, one day, she’s reached her limit in life and wants it all to go away.  After a close-call suicide attempt, she’s slowly working out that she just doesn’t fit in and never will.  Then she finds Start, an underground night club where all are embraced and the music is everything.  Elise becomes sucked into this world and the people in it, even though she’s sixteen and sneaking out at night to meet them all at the club.  She gets taken on as an apprentice of sorts by the star DJ, Char, and soon finds she has a talent as a DJ.  Will her secret life fall about once it’s discovered or will she survive it all?


I’m not holding back because I found little, if any, fault in this book.  My reading tastes always vary from time to time but a truly great book sticks out and shines no matter what mood you’re in.  Leila Sales writing is beautiful and she captures then heart-ache of teenager isolation in a way that mades me feel like it was yesterday.  She’s studied the craft of DJing and the love of music that makes you want to dive head-first into your own records and MP3s and find more gems hidden away in the dark corners.  The characters are fantastic and felt like real people, rather than fake persons.  

The messages in the story are hard-hitting at times and aren’t always easy to digest but that’s the way they should be.  Issues like teen depression, suicide, social isolation and divorced families are all covered and they are covered in a very bold way.  I think this book is going to hit home with a lot of YA readers and could make a real impact on many lives because it tells you that even when things are at their darkest, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

Powerful reading with a moral heart, and a soundtrack, to live by.  Sublime.  

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books and is available here and bookshops now

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *