Young Adult

This Song Will Save Your Life

An exuberant novel about identity, relationships, and the power of music to bring people together.

Elise Dembowski is not afraid of a little hard work. In fact, she embraces it. All her life, she’s taken on big, all-encompassing projects. When she was eight years old, she built her own dollhouse. When she was thirteen, she taught herself stop-motion animation. And when she’s fifteen, she embarks on the biggest, and most important, project of them all: becoming cool. Except she fails. Miserably. And everything falls to pieces.

Now, if possible, Elise’s social life is even worse than it was before. Until she stumbles into an underground dance club, and opens the door to a world she never knew existed. An inside-out world where, seemingly overnight, a previously uncool high school sophomore can become the hottest new DJ sensation. Elise finally has what she always wanted: acceptance, friendship, maybe even love. Until the real world threatens to steal it all away.

In a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, Leila Sales delivers an exuberant novel about identity, relationships, and the power of music to bring people together.

Select praise

  • “[Elise’s] struggle not just to alter what others see but also to find what she wants to see is a poignant reminder that the current presiding perspective is not everything; that there are other opinions and new opportunities for acceptance and joy; that people can and do change, no matter how hard it seems.” —The New York Times Book Review
  • ★ “Sales’ narrative, rich with diverse music references, reverberates with resilience. Pulsates with hope for all the misfits.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • ★ “Whether Elise is unexpectedly cynical, despairing, or even exhilarated, her hurt and confusion are the feelings that underlie everything, and teens will connect with her viscerally.” —Booklist, starred review
  • “The book is funny, insightful and captures with unflinching authenticity the experience of a bullied kid; Sales gets everything right.” —
  • “Leila Sales’s energetic and warm new title celebrates the curious chemistry of friendship, the pull of family, and the transporting and transformative power of music.” —The Boston Globe
  • “[A] sardonic, frequently hilarious, insightful celebration of individuality.” —The Horn Book
  • “A razor-sharp and honest view of a misfit trying to find her place in the world.” —School Library Journal
  • “A wild, witty, funny, thumping good read.” —Adele Griffin, two-time National Book Award Finalist
  • “Edgy and irresistible.”—Sarah Mlynowski, author of Ten Things We Did
  • “A sweet, funny story about finding yourself in a crowd, owning your talents, and rocking out on the dance floor of life.” —Madeleine George, author of he Difference Between You and Me
  • “A perfect harmony of laugh-out-loud moments, heartbreak, and hope.” —Eileen Cook, author of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
  • “A remarkable story about the power of truth, friendship, and music—to transform us, to inspire us, to guide us back to who we are.” —Rebecca Serle, author or When You Were Mine
  • “This book will change your life—just open up and press play.” —Jess Rothenberg, author of The Catastrophic History of You and Me
  • Selected for ALA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults List
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Selected for the 2014 Capitol Choices List
  • Selected for the CCBC Choices 2014 List
  • Selected for the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year, 2014 Edition
  • Selected for the 2014 Texas Tayshas Reading List
  • Nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Teens’ Top Ten
  • Nominated for the 2015 Carnegie Medal
  • One of Buzzfeed’s 21 Best YA Books of 2013
  • Rights sold in 12 foreign countries
  • Selected for state lists in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Connecticut, and New Mexico
  • Optioned for stage and film development by producers Kevin McCollum (Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights) and Michael Novick (“Glee”)