This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author: Leila Sales

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Publication Date: Sept 2013

Pages: 279

Genre: YA Contemporary

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.


This is not my normal reading choice. Generally, as I work in a high school, I do not go for contemporary YA novels because I can get enough real life drama everyday. But this book had an interesting premise – a girl who saves herself with music – so I decided to give it a try.

The book is a great read. It deals with some tough issues – fitting in, losing yourself by trying to be something you aren’t, learning to trust yourself and value yourself, and suicide and bullying. It deal with these well, and I think that while Elise is at times a bit over the top, she also has some thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that most teenagers can relate to. The fact that she is bullied and takes it, and when it gets extreme still takes it without getting an adult involved is something that teenagers everywhere are dealing with.

There are times when I didn’t like Elise, and I thought that some of the behaviors would have been flags for her parents, and some things, like her nighttime walks, were a little hard to swallow. (My mother would have known. I might have gotten away with that once, but she’d have been waiting up for me the next time…) I didn’t expect so much from this book. I didn’t expect the undercurrents about cutting and suicide, or the heavy amount of bullying in the book. But I felt that it was a book that teens can relate to, and if it helps even one teen who is feeling depressed and alone and maybe thinking about harming themselves to stop and ask for help from someone, then it is definitely worth the read.

Sorry this review is a bit disjointed. The book was good, and overall I liked it, but there were parts that I didn’t care for. If you enjoy contemporary YA, this is a great book.


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was borrowed from the local library by the reviewer.


Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

bronzeTitle: Strands of Bronze and Gold

Author: Jane Nickerson

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Publication Date: March 2013

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tal


Fairy tale retellings are a sure way to get me to read a book. I also like it when an author tries to make the fairy tale work in real life, no magic or fairy godmothers. In Strands of Bronze and Gold, the author uses the antebellum south and a plantation as a way of retelling the tale of Bluebeard.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Bluebeard married several times and kept a room locked. He always told the wives that the room was off limits. They could do as they liked, but not go in there. The wife would steal the key, open the door, and find out the other wives had been murdered in the room. Once they found this out, he kills them. The last wife gets smart, and begs for time to say prayers until her brothers, coming to visit, get there. She locks herself in a tower, the brothers come and kill the evil husband. That’s the quick and dirty version, anyway. If you want to read the full version, click HERE. I’m sure the message was something about feminine curiosity and whatnot, but it always seemed like a strange fairy tale to me.

This book takes that theme and makes it into a mystery, which I really enjoyed. You know something is going on, but you aren’t sure what. I might have liked it better had I not known it was based on Bluebeard, just because it immediately gives some things away. (You know the basic bones of the past, etc)

The main character, however, I felt a bit confused by. Sophie starts off very young and acts like it. Her reasons for going to de Cressac, who is her godfather, make sense for the time. Even so, it’s a little ick-inducing once you get farther into the story and realize de Cressac’s love of strawberry blondes. Sophie does make a significant change and matures quite a bit before the end of the book, and does so in a plausible way that I really liked. But she felt so much older at the end that she might even have matured too much, considering her age. Its a minor complaint, but when you go back and read a few pages at the beginning, the character is drastically different. At the same time, it is an appropriate change, considering everything that happens to her.

The author’s take on de Cressac is also well done. She paints the older man well, and despite Sophie’s immature crush at the beginning, she does make the whole thing believable, especially considering the social norms of the time. I also enjoyed the ending, which I won’t give away, and de Cressac’s part in it. The housekeeper’s blind eye was a bit hard to believe, but I suppose when the villan is supposed to be so charismatic, you can almost ignore that.

My biggest complaint is the strange undercurrent of social commentary that the author placed in the novel. In the midst of the gothic, creepy feel of the novel she tries to insert bits about abolition and slavery. While the time period if correct, and Sophie may very well have had the opinions she did as someone from the North coming South, it seemed jarring. At times it worked, and at other times it took me out of the story. It isn’t necessarily badly done, its just odd for the novel, for me.

Overall, the book is a good retelling of a less popular fairy tale. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, I would recommend it.


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Blood Moon by Teri Harman

bloodmoonTitle: Blood Moon

Author: Terri Harman

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Publication Date: June 2013

Pages: 350

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Book Summary (from

Willa dreams of true events and her best friend is a ghost. Simon can heal any wound with a touch and senses others’ emotions, intentions. All their lives they’ve felt alone in their bizarre abilities, hiding behind a facade of normalcy, wondering why and how. The night Simon walks into the Twelve Acres Diner and meets Willa face to face, in a swirl of electric heat, they are bound to one another and glimpse the magic of who they are.

Across town a witch is held prisoner in the derelict basement of an old Victorian house. One night as it rains, she dares to reach her filthy, scarred hand out the window. Willa, walking home from work, recognizes the pathetic hand from a recent, terrible dream.

After a daring rescue of the witch, Willa and Simon are catapulted into the alluring but dangerous world of witchcraft and the magic of The Six Gifts. Answers to all their questions are within reach, but they’ve stepped into the middle of a deadly fight for the Powers of the Earth. Do they stay, risk their lives on the promise of power, or walk away?


Blood Moon by Terri Harman is a great read, especially considering the season! I enjoyed Simon and Willa’s story, and the take on witches that Harman has used. Her research and world building is really well done, and you are told the facts as you need them, letting you accumulate the information at the same time (or a bit before) the two main characters. The book does have some flashbacks, which were a little hard at first for me personally, but after the first couple you get into the rhythm of the book and they don’t distract from the story. Instead, they provide information by showing you rather than just info-dumping on the page.

The romance is well done too. It is insta-love, which I’m not always a fan of, but I really, really enjoyed the fact that there was no love triangle here. The characters meet, recognize that they are Soul Mates, and they spend the rest of the story together. There is no third person trying to butt in. And you know, they manage to find enough drama that you don’t need it. They have questions about themselves and each other, and they have to work through things that they didn’t even know existed before the beginning of the book.

The Six Gifts are explained well, and the dark versus light in the book makes for an interesting read. Their battle is far from over, and the ending – while stopping at a point that doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out – is a cliff hanger. You know more is coming, and you aren’t sure what kind of form it will take.

Overall, this is a great YA fantasy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment. If you’re a fan of witches/paranormal romance, check it out!


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:

Book was purchased by reviewer.

And We’re Off!

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