Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

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Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
This Song Will Save Your Life
Leila Sales
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 17th 2013
by Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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All her life, Elise Dembowski has been an outsider. Starting a new school, she dreams of fitting in at last – but when her best attempts at popularity fail, she almost gives up. Then she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. There, at night, Elise can be a different person, making real friends, falling in love for the first time, and finding her true passion – DJ’ing.

But when her real and secret lives collide, she has to make a decision once and for all: just who is the real Elise?

An irresistible novel about hope, heartbreak and the power of music to bring people together.
-A copy was provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for review-

What an amazing, awe-inspiring book! This Song Will Save Your Life is emotional and beautiful; a story that will bring out your happy-tears by its conclusion!

Once in a while there are books where you get to fully and completely connect to the main character to such a degree that you experience it all as if it was your own story with your own emotions. This was one of those books for me. Elise made it incredibly easy to love her. She’s funny and smart, but she has never fit in with her classmates. She has an artist’s soul, giving all her passion to what she loves; not awarding great importance to frivolous things like fashion or gossip unsurprisingly makes her an outcast at school. The struggles she faces by daring to be herself is heartbreaking. Leila did a great job at making this major part in the story all so very real and relatable. While it had the potential to be an overwhelmingly sad story, instead it focuses on being uplifting, even inspirational. Elise never loses track of who she is, keeping her focus on what makes her happy instead of giving up. She is an amazing person through and through regardless of her flaws. Her doubts, insecurities, and fears captures the feelings of not fitting in to a T.

When Elise does find out where she belongs by doing something she loves – being a DJ – I felt so extremely happy for her. Think about a time you got some great news that made you giddy happy the rest of the day. This was how I felt by the end of this book, complete with happy tears blurring the words. Not even kidding, I could feel the energy of the crowd and the adrenaline pounding Elise’s heart with thrill and nervous energy in those moments in the DJ booth. Along the way we meet some witty, energetic characters to color these pages. Even with the smallest of roles – bouncer Mel for instance – they brighten the story every chance they get.

This novel is honest in its entirety, not just with the depiction of high school. Leila approaches romance and sex in a very realistic light, for one. It’s not always black and white with happily ever afters. Sometimes romance is just an experience; unclear and lustful, not all-empowering love. I also appreciated that romance was not used – nor needed – to move this story. Furthermore, Elise has a wonderful family unit – 2 actually – that were a significant part of this novel. Her mother’s house is loud with family dinners and siblings that you grow to adore as much as she does. Her father’s house is where you get to veg on the couch silently, but together. These are parents who are refreshingly understanding and supportive of their kids’ passion. I loved this, it completed the package.

I do think this novel will impact some more profoundly than others, likely dependent on your own high school experience and identity. No matter, it’s beautifully written with so much heart – a book well worth your time!

5 Stars
5 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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27 Responses to “Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales”

  1. Richa

    I seriously can’t wait to read this one! I’m a huge music fan and the fact that Leila loves DJ-ing is amazing. It seems to have such a unique premise. And I love that the romance isn’t front and centre, and that it’s not unrealistic. I have a feeling I’m really going to love this. Awesome review, Giselle!

    Richa @ City of Books

  2. Danielle

    So glad you loved this one too Giselle! It was just such a special book! I can’t wait to get a hard copy of it to hug! πŸ™‚ I get shivers just thinking about it πŸ™‚

  3. JennRenee

    I need to read this book. I am so happy to hear of a book with great parental support and no need for romance. Two things ya books really need these days. thanks for sharing your thoughts. Awesome review.

  4. Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan

    What a coincidence! I reviewed this book today, too! Those five expressos are well deserved, for sure. πŸ˜€ I liked how un-romantic this book was — definitely a refreshing change from the usual contemporary reads. And YES. Elise was such a connectable character. I really felt for her, because I could relate to her in some ways, so I was incredibly happy (and also jealous) when she found Start. I want a place like this in my life! So happy you loved this, Giselle. It impacted me a great deal, and was a beautiful read for me. Lovely review!

  5. Bonnie

    I was so shocked at how amazing this book was! I don’t normally read contemporary (ever) and this ended up being a definite favorite. I was so happy to see that she didn’t end up finding happiness because of a romance… it was a true finding yourself type novel. Lovely review, glad to see you loved it just as much! I think I need to check out other books from this author!

  6. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    Wow, awesome review! Music is a big passion of mine. If im not reading, Im listening to music. The summary of this one is so vague that it didn’t really catch my attention. I really should know better from Colleen Hoover’s books. This sounds like a good one, glad you liked it!

    Btw- your comment cracked me up! But I agree with what you said πŸ™‚ Happy Friday!

  7. Molli

    What a lovely review, Giselle! You’re right; you really COULD feel the energy of the crowd as Elise DJ’ed. I loved that so so much, and that she finally found her place, because she so deserved it. I liked most of the secondary characters, and that her family was supportive. I cried reading this, too!

  8. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    I’ve been seeing reviews for this book around everywhere today! And all of them have been 4 stars or higher. πŸ™‚ I don’t think I could entirely relate to this one (and the book description isn’t something that instantly appeals to me either), but I am pretty curious about it now after all the hype and have already ordered a copy. I’m looking forward to giving it a try now. I’m glad that it impressed you, Giselle. Fantastic review!

  9. Candace

    I’ve been DYING to read this one! I really think it’s one I will connect with and really love. I’m so happy to see another wonderful review!

  10. Christianna

    I can’t wait to read this book! You make it sound so wonderful and I know that I”m already a fan of Sales’ writing. Past Perfect was a great read as well. It sounds like this one goes a bit deeper, but in a way so did that one! Great review, now I just need to get this one in my hands!

  11. Pili

    What a great review! I know I must check this book now, cause it sounds like the kinda contemporary I’ll enjoy! Thanks for the recomendation!

  12. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I wish I loved this one as much as you did, but for some reason I ended up giving it three stars because I just couldn’t make the same connection that so many people did >.< I don't know why, I've been in a huge book slump recently, but I'm so happy that you found Elise's character to be compelling and that the DJing aspect was a really nice touch. I think I thought the characters were underdeveloped (but that could just be me). Sigh. But I'm really happy that you loved this one and connected to Elise so completely!

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  13. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Beautiful review, Giselle. I’m so glad you loved this one because I enjoyed it very much too. While I didn’t connect with Elise, I loved the growth in her character as the story progressed.
    I also loved the author’s writing and the DJ aspect was wonderfully written.
    Fabulous review!

  14. ShootingStarsMag

    Ooh 5 stars? This does sound like a worthy read! I love novels when you just connect to the characters. makes it all that more powerful. I’m happy to hear the romance wasn’t used to move the story along either. Nice change!

  15. Angie

    I don’t even think love begins to cover how I feel about this book. It spoke to me on such a fundamental level and I appreciated how realistic and just bluntly honest it was.

  16. Emily

    WOW! Holy 5 espressos!! :DD
    There has been so much praise for this one, and I think novels that touch and empower are beautiful. There’s so much fluff and nuff these days, and a realistic and inspiring novel I think is one of those that we want to see more often.
    Brilliant review Giselle, and I’m really glad you enjoyed This Song Will Save Your Life! <3

  17. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    Lovely review, Giselle! I do appreciate it when I can relate to the book on a more personal level, and I’m hoping that will be the case with This Song Will Save Your Life. And recently I’ve really come to enjoy YA contemps that do take an extremely realistic approach to life and all the problems and questions that teens may have. I hope that this book proves to be as much a winner for me as it was for you!

  18. Jordy

    I am a total book-nerd, and I also love music (it’s a family thing). The fact that someone has mixed these two together into a very popular story is just mind blowing. I can’t wait to get started on this one…^_^