ARC Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Pub. Date: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
288 pages

Elise Dembowski is one of the funniest, most relatable girl next door while being a complete individual, characters that I have had the privilege of reading. Her voice is completely encompassing and this book touched me profoundly.

Everyday for Elise is a struggle. Even when she tries, its obvious that she’s not like everyone else. The take away, avoid being unique and don’t be special, it just makes you lonely and miserable. So, Elise makes the only decision she thinks she has left, to commit suicide. After a failed attempt followed by major support and healing time, Elise finds comfort in listening to music while night walking. Her walking leads her right to where she will heal the most - a warehouse party, with a DJ. Finding a place where people appreciate music as much as she does is like finding Mecca. But when Elise’s natural DJ ability threatens her new friendships, she has to decide if it’s better to fit in, or be true to yourself.

I loved this novel. The realism, humor, and music blew my mind. Within the first few pages there was one of the most descriptive, affecting, ‘practice’ suicide attempts that I have ever read. I felt sick to
my stomach, and I needed to take a break from reading because I was so affected. Even though it was hard, being handed so much honesty so early in the story, forever binds you to Elise. Music’s significance in Elise’s life is obvious from page 1. Her music knowledge, and how she understands life because of how she understands music was fascinating. We get a really small glimpse of what it would be like to see the world like Elise with the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter. These small organizations of words set the tone, and help you understand Elise’s mind frame that much more. 
A good chunk of the novel is devoted to Elise learning to just be herself, no matter what anyone else thinks. From page 1 to page 288, Elise experiences so much that was funny, sad, shocking, heartbreaking, beautiful, swoon worthy, or all of the above. I’m not going to hint at any of her experiences because to really appreciate them, you need to go through every step that leads her to them, with her. The one aspect of the novel that I will talk about is Elise’s relationship with her parents. No matter what Elise goes through, her parents are present and loving. They challenged her, supported her, and call her on her bullshit, which was so refreshing and lovely.

Elise’s story shows that no matter how misunderstood, out-of-place, or lonely you feel, your uniqueness is what makes you an individual, and that is a beautiful thing. I dare you not to be moved by this story and relate in even the smallest way.

Rating 10/10 – I wish I could give out a higher rating than perfection.

**I received a copy of this novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.

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