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This Song Will Save Your Life Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374351384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374351380
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Elise Dembowski will not be unfamiliar to readers. The girl most likely to be picked on. A halfhearted suicide attempt. Broken family, no friends, no future. But then something happens. While wandering the streets one night, Elise comes across a warehouse party. The joint is jumping, and to Elise’s amazement, some of the people there are interested in her. Vicky, a singer, takes Elise under her wing, and Char, the amazing DJ, takes her to bed. But Char does something for Elise that’s more important than making her feel attractive: he tutors her in the art of DJing, and, it turns out, Elise is a natural. So much so that she soon outshines her mentor. What sets this apart from so many problem novels is how honestly and deeply Sales probes the life of a miserable 16-year-old, from her cringe-worthy attempt at learning how to be popular to the observational, rather than emotional, look at what it feels like to be with a guy. Readers will be fascinated and touched by the first-person voice because of what is roiling beneath it. Whether Elise is cynical, despairing, or even exhilarated, her hurt and confusion are the feelings that underlie everything, and teens will connect with her viscerally. That Elise finds something that awakens and restores her will also give readers hope. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper

Review

*"Pulsates with hope for all the misfits." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*"What sets this apart from so many problem novels is how honestly and deeply

Sales probes the life of a miserable 16-year-old, from her cringe-worthy attempt at “learning” how to be popular to the observational, rather than emotional, look at what it feels like to be with a guy." -- Booklist, starred review


More About the Author

Leila Sales grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from the University of Chicago. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as a children's book editor. Leila spends most of her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write. Learn more at leilasales.com.

Related Media


Customer Reviews

This book just felt so real.
Patience (Take Me Away...)
This Song Will Save Your Life is about Elise finding something that she LOVES doing and that turns out to be something that she's good at as well, DJing!.
Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies
This Song Will Save Your Life was a book that left me raw, with the feeling that I wasn't reading it, so much as it had read me.
Jen @ The Bevy Bibliotheque

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeann @ Happy Indulgence on December 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This review appears on [...] Check it out for more reviews!

High school was an awkward experience for me. I got good grades and won awards for being top of the class. If this wasn’t social suicide then, I don’t know what was. My friends at school weren’t exactly the popular ones, we just never quite fit in anywhere else. Luckily, I found my place at social activities outside of school, which brought me friends who I resonated with, understood who I were, and didn’t let grades determine whether I was cool enough to hang around with.

That’s why This Song Will Save Your Your Life really spoke to me, as Elise just didn’t fit in to the social cliques at school. Where her only folly is her intelligence and being precocious (maturing ahead of her classmates), Elise was shunned by the rest of the school for being different. But when given the chance to shine outside of that environment, she found DJ-ing at Start as a place where she could really flourish and be herself.

Her voice and dialogue was just so honest and raw. At the start, Elise is plagued with hangups about herself and negative self talk. This makes her an easy target for bullies, and I really felt for Elise during those times. Even her suicidal thoughts and walking around at night is something that could be related to. Luckily This Song Will Save Your Life is a story about hope, personal growth and finding one’s self, so Elise eventually finds a place where she can fit in, is respected, and has friends that will stick around after school. Despite being quite a self conscious person (after all, most people are), I really liked Elise’s quiet resolve in knowing where she stood at school and at home. Even her approach to boys and dating was refreshingly realistic, and not wrought with whining and negativity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Medeia Sharif on September 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Elise Dembowski wants friends, but it seems impossible. She's an overachiever and rabid music lover who doesn't find the right match at school. Only users and bullies are attracted to her. After making herself over during the summer, she still can't manage to fall into the right crowd--even the nice girls seem to abuse her--so she tries to commit suicide. That attempt has dreadful repercussions both at school and at home.

There's an underground club named START that's in town. Elise stumbles on it during her late night walks when she's sneaking out of her mom's house. At START she meets people who love music as much as she does. Also, they're a varied bunch who accept her for who she is and even encourage her talents. She starts DJ'ing part-time there and it becomes something huge. She is a person of value. Her skills are amazing and she gets the dance floor pumping. Still, that negative voice in her head, a rival who can't be happy for her success, and the nasty people at school try to eat away her self-esteem.

This book felt so real. Elise's thoughts and actions jumped off the page. The big issue was Elise's level of confidence, but I liked all the other issues with parents, siblings, friendship, and romance. I also loved the musical references, many of which were from the 80s. Elise is a main character to root for and this is YA contemporary at its best. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nikki on December 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
[Originally posted on my blog, There Were Books Involved.]

This Song Will Save Your Life is going to be a really important book to a lot of people, because it’s a book with a really important message. If you’ve read it, I’m sure it touched you in some way — maybe it touched your heart because it’s a message you needed to hear 10 years ago, still resonating today. Maybe it’s a message you needed to hear now, that arrived right when you needed it. For me, I think it’s both those things.

Elise Dembowski is a high school sophomore, who wants nothing more than to fit in with the people around her. She’s been in school with the same group of people since kindergarten, and has always been an outsider. She knows what it’s like to be alone and invisible, but also what it’s like to be the center of attention, the butt of people’s cruel jokes. Because of the way she’s isolated from her peers, she’s come to truly believe that there’s something wrong with her, with the way she is, with her likes and dislikes and interests and clothes and bearing. She thinks she needs to change, to be normal, and then everyone will accept her.

Tell me you’ve never had that feeling before. *crickets* Yeah I didn’t think so.

"I don’t belong here. I don’t know how I got here, and I don’t know how long I can stay before everyone else realizes that I am an impostor. I am a fraud."

Teen-Me would have really benefited from This Song Will Save Your Life, I think. But Present-Me also needed the reminder this book drove home. This Song is a story about finding yourself; but more importantly, it’s about accepting yourself, and being okay with — or rather, owning — being who you are. Knowing you have strengths that are worthwhile, and important.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashleigh VINE VOICE on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
See more of my reviews on Birth of a New Witch! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher for review.

Just by looking at that jacket copy, it's hard not to see a little of oneself in Elise. We've all struggled with being the butt of the joke, the outsider, the unpopular one, or the target of reasonless bullying. Thanks to that and plenty of glowing reviews, I expected This Song Will Save Your Life to make me ache in about a million different ways, all of them good. It did toward the end, but the journey to the last fifty pages or so took far too long for a book just 288 pages long.

The first two chapters have Elise telling us her story in this bafflingly blasé voice. "Yeah, I've been bullied endlessly for years and one day, I snapped and decided to attempt suicide. The weather is lovely outside." That's not an actual quote, but the tone of it is pretty much exactly the same. Most of the book is like this, but there are small moments of stellar, emotional writing throughout, usually to do with DJing and her experience with it. Somehow, most of these only come in the last fifty pages. Why couldn't they be more evenly placed throughout the book? Better yet, why couldn't the entire book have been that great?

Elise is only sympathetic as a bullying victim and as plenty of fellow victims will, they'll know exactly what kind of pain she's in. It's a bit of a cheap way to gain that sympathy for someone who is otherwise thoroughly characterized as a terrible person. She's a snob that thinks herself better than the two people who aren't bullying her and actually trying to be nice to her-and in all honestly, she thinks herself better than everyone else too.
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