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



Elise has always been on the outside and gotten picked on and endures school with no friends. She makes one last attempt to create a new Elise and try to fit in but it fails in the worst way and she thinks she just can’t bear it anymore. After she hits an ultimate low, she wanders off to walk one night and ends up in front of a warehouse where a secret party is happening and she meets people who welcome her in and accept her rather than looking at her the way her classmates do. Once inside she falls in love with the rush of the music and finds herself enthralled with DJing. As she falls more in love with DJing and feels like somebody, things at school seems to get even worse as her past sticks with her.

This Song Will Save Your Life was actually a bit of a surprise for me. It sounded like a fun contemporary novel that I would LIKE but I didn’t expect it to really make the kind of impression that it did and hit me square in the heart. I’m DEFINITELY going to be checking out Leila Sales others books if this is what I have to look forward to because she writes a damn good story with characters that feel familiar yet feel so unique. Its spirit pulses from the pages, right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you.

The official synopsis does not even prepare you for how heartbreaking Elise’s story is in terms of how she gets made fun of and bullied. She was genuinely different and I felt so bad for her for the shame she felt in that. I remember that feeling of needing to blend in during high school and it makes me ragey now to think about how much of my self I hid. It was heartbreaking to see how she was treated and to know just how lonely she was. I don’t want to say too much about the specifics but your heart will BREAK for Elise (and you’ll want to hulksmash some people)  and what she has to endure but you will root for her as she begins to be okay with the things that make her different and find people who help her embrace who she is.

I’m not going to lie. Leila Sales had her work cut out for her to convince me that “teenage DJ” wasn’t going to be super corny. I will tell you that she successfully proved me wrong and I felt like I was walking into the club with Elise for the first time and feeling so excited every step of the way. I could feel the energy and I loved how the setting was written perfectly. Music has been amazingly lifesaving in my own life and I could just FEEL how it was invigorating to her and stirred something inside her. I was a little nervous at points in the book to think this story was going to follow the trend of romance being what redeems or saves someone but Leila stayed true to the title and Elise truly is one of the most kickass characters ever.

ALSO TO NOTE…the supporting characters are MY FAVORITE EVER. Seriously. I loved so many of them that I could write 5 more paragraphs but I WON’T…just please go open this book and meet them.


Absolutely LOVED this book. I expected I would LIKE it but I didn’t expect that I would feel so strongly about it and that it would have been such a touching read for me. I loved Elise’s story and the uniqueness of the setting and plot. Teenage DJ could have been a corny concept but Leila Sales nails it. Heartbreaking at times, honest and inspiring in that you don’t necessarily have to CHANGE to find yourself but you just have to see those perceived weaknesses or quirks as your strength and learn to be comfortable in your skin. The power of music and TRUE friendships that don’t try to change you also really resonated with me.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales


Let’s Talk: Did you read this one?? What did you think of it — similar thoughts to mine or different? I’d love to hear them either way! Did you think the whole Char & Elise thing was going to be cliched “he saves me” storyline at certain points? Who was your fave minor character? I rather loved Mel and obviously Vicky!!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I already have this on my TBR list, but it just moved to the top!

  2. Aww, I’ve seen so many glowing review of This Song Will Save Your Life in the last few days. I really need to check it out!
    Haha, “teenage DJ” does sound corny. Glad it wasn’t. 🙂

  3. Just to warn you, Pitch Perfect isn’t like This Song at all. I mean, it’s good, I guess, but it is straight up fluff. So, yeah. If you go in hoping for heart punching, you will be disappointed. And I think Mostly Good Girls is more humor? I’m not sure, as I have yet to read that one. From what I can tell this is by far her best book though. Or, it is for me as a reader.

    So glad this one got you in the feels as much as it did me. That poor girl. When she was all excited to tell Char about her Friday not spot, I was just sitting there like “HONEY, NO.” Poor girl. But Harry! The adorbs!

  4. Been seeing the good reviews on this left and right! So glad I cancelled my preorder on the paperback and ordered the hardback instead because I’m convinced I’m going to love it! I love that this is not that light and fluffy but touches on more heavier topics and a lot of bloggers could connect to Elise. There is nothing better when you can connect to a character 🙂

    Thanks for the great review Jamie!

  5. I just got this one and can’t wait to read it! I love Sales’ writing!

  6. Everyone keeps saying such good things; I’m just so wary of the whole DJing thing …

    But your review is pushing me toward it!

  7. I haven’t read This Song Will Save Your Life but I really want to. It sounds like a great book and the message behind it sounds really inspirational. Great review! 🙂

  8. I seriously was on the fence with this one for so long. The synopsis sounded okay and I heard many good things about it but I was still unsure. I’m not sure what exactly about this review called to me but you have me convinced that I should have already read this and have wasted time putting it off!!

  9. This one meant so so much to me that reading other people’s reviews makes me tear up – really. I just. I took it to heart in so many ways. I’m definitely going to buy a finished copy when I can. So it makes me so happy you liked it. I was like you, Jamie – I was thinking “teenage DJ, whaaaaa?” But Leila just…made it WORK. And the secondary characters. Vicky, Mel, Elise’s parents. They were all so awesome, and even the ones I didn’t like *coughs* Char *coughs* were still really well-written and realistic.

  10. I’ve seen this one around, but like you, kind of thought the whole teenage DJ thing was going to be corny. But since reading your review and the reviews of others, I think I’m going to have to check this one out. Everybody keeps saying the story is much more raw and real. Great review!

  11. Reading your review makes me even more excited to read this book. Can’t wait until payday so I can finally buy it!!!

  12. I’ve had this one on my TBR list for a while, but with every review I read I just know I need to read it. Can’t wait for the heartbreak!

  13. Great review! I just bought this book and I can’t wait to read it. Everyone I know is super in love with this book and I can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about!

  14. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says:

    I think this book might be the sleeper hit of the year — keep seeing great reviews pop up! Definitely putting this one on my Christmas wish list if the library doesn’t have it sooner 🙂

  15. simonet hodges says:

    I have a couple of Leila Sales books on my wish list including this. I can’t wait till I get to this one.

  16. Yay! So happy to see you loved this one since I just bought a copy yesterday! I feel like I’ve seen nothing but love for this book around the blogosphere.

  17. I’ve seen this book around quite a lot, and I’ve definitely wanted to read it. I really liked the other book I read by Sales, (it fell into the, really liked it and it was cute category) but this one sounds fantastic. I need some great heartbreaking contemporary right about now. I’m definitely going to have to get my hands on a copy of this! 🙂

  18. Fantastic review. I just started this, and I am so excited to finish it. I have a feeling I’m going to finish this in one sitting.

  19. Oh my god, this book. Like you I thought it would be a fun contemporary that I would enjoy, but I had no idea how much it would make me FEEL. I literally got a stomachache reading it on the train last night because I was so worried for Elise. And then I was reading it walking home with tears on my face. I’m not always into bullying books because I feel like they can hit you over the head with “bullying is bad,” which is a great message for teens to read but can be kind of boring for me as an adult. But this book wasn’t really about that, it was just about being different and knowing in your soul that you’re different, and I DEFINITELY felt that growing up. I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about this book. I love it so much.

  20. Nikki Robinson says:

    I absolutely loved this book. I’m late to the party on it as I read just a couple weeks ago, but I thought it was amazing. I felt for the main character and loved the journey she took. It makes me want to find underground dance parties!


  1. […] ● Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner wrote “Its spirit pulses from the pages, right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you.” (Read the rest of the review Here!) […]

  2. […] This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Now this is 100% inspire by Elise herself from the book rather than a more general costume idea. I’m sure there are many ways to put together a DJ costume but I went specifically from two favorite parts from this book — when Elise and Vicky went shopping and when Elise first puts her outfit on for the night and realizes how badass she looks for her first real night of DJing. My inspiration: the rhinestone pumps Vicky finds and the dress she wears the first night (“After Vicky approved a pair of lace leggings, I tried on a fluffy pleated pink dress that looked like it belonged to Madonna circa 1987….”It was short, with a tight bodice and a tutu-like skirt. I put on my new bangles, too.” And then my favorite line: “Tonight I didn’t want to look like everyone else. Tonight I wanted to look like how I felt on the inside: Elise Dembowski, DJ.” Then the line when she sees a picture of herself from that night solidified the look — “The dress that Vicky helped me buy makes me look like a punk rock ballerina.” […]

  3. […] most read genre so this is hard and I’m cheating. I make the rules sooo I can. We Were Liars, This Song Will Save Your Life, Two Boys Kissing, Something Like Normal, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Just One Year, Graffiti […]

  4. Top Ten says:

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  5. […] Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I listened to the audiobook and it was a good audiobook, but I do feel like I missed things. I want to read this one again before the sequel comes out.  […]

  6. […] We Were Liars. It was also super cool because I randomly ran into Leila Sales (love her + LOOOVED This Song Will Save Your Life), Tiffany Schmidt, and OH YOU KNOW…just got to shoot the shit with DAVID LEVITHAN. As one […]

  7. […] it was more a cute, fluffy read but it was very emotional and one of my favorites of the year!! (Review) Best All Around Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell Such a toss up between this one […]