Aristocrat’s Ransom: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

May 16, 2014 Review 42 ★★★★

Aristocrat’s Ransom: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Purchased
Pages: 288
Release Date: October 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.

bec (2)

Major Selling Points:

Light & Breezy

When I started TSWSYL I was drowning in a monumental pile of study and assignments. It was stressful and overwhelming and I needed a break. I needed to read a light, easy novel to distract me and reset my brain. TSWSYL, while dealing with some heavier topics, was perfect. I may or may not have ended up reading this more than I studied for a few days…


TSWSYL is one of those books that when you tell people you’re thinking of reading it, their reaction is something like “ERMAHGERD READ IT ASAPPP IT”S AMAZIIIING CHANGED MY LYFEEE”. At least, that’s my experience. I’d seen so many people raving about it, it was the reason I bought it when I saw it in the bookstore all those months ago. And you know what, it pretty much deserves all the hype.


I am at a loss for words how to describe the plot of TSWSYL. When I started reading it I was telling Alise about it on skype and her reaction was basically “that sounds like a weird book” and on a few of levels it sort of is weird. But at the same time it’s marvelous. Elise at the beginning is very weird, very hard on herself, uncomfortable with herself and alienated. Her mentality is desperate, down, not great. Over the course of the novel we see her discover her passion, make true friends, and become comfortable with herself. TSWSYL is about just that–not giving up, finding your passion, figuring out who you are and being comfortable with yourself. It’s something most people, myself included, need to hear every now and then. TSWSYL also highlighted how horrible kids and people can be and how actions can affect someone’s mentality.

That was barely about the plot at all, was it? OH WELL! Overall I loved the story line and the growth, especially at the start and the end of the novel. In the middle it got a little bit meh. I wish it hadn’t ended so soon. Also, I loved how actual songs were mentioned. Right now I’m listening to a playlist that has all the songs from the book in it and it’s GREAT.


The writing was superb. Seriously. I was adding quotes to my quotebook every few pages. So many lines resonated with me. The characters so varied and interesting, and Elise’s voice is perfect. I don’t think I could ask for anything better.



Elise is probably one of the most unique YA MC I’ve read about. She has no powers, no outstanding talents, but she’s so real. Thoughts she’s had are thoughts I’ve had at some point in my life. Her situation is similar to some of the stuff I’ve experienced (fortunately never as bad/scarring as hers). Just her entire though process and life and situation and struggles seemed so real, probable, and I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate to her. It’s a nice change from all the confidant, badass ladies I read about in fantasy.


Char is the only other character I really want to talk about because… I just never liked him. Right from the get go there was something about him that rubbed me the wrong way. I never trusted him. View Spoiler » And because of that I just couldn’t bring myself to like him, or even try to view him in a good light.


I am glad to report that romance isn’t a huge focus in this book. Hooray! I am afraid to also say that the one relationship Elise engages in isn’t entirely healthy. It  may be what she wants and what she think she needs, which is completely fine, but aspects of it are still eeehhhh. I was never completely sold. The one relationship I wanted to happen but didn’t (though seeds may have been sown at the end) would have been so adorable and why couldn’t I see it asjskdjalkd


  • Elise x Harry
  • Elise x Music
  • Vicky x Rockstardom
  • Harry x more page time
  • Char x less page time
  • Pippa x a healthy obsession with something that isn’t Char
Rating Report
Overall: 4

42 Responses to “Aristocrat’s Ransom: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales”

    • Bec

      YES! He really just in it for the… well, you know. Basically what he was doing to Pippa but with someone new.

      Oh the poetry house *sobs*

    • Bec


      Very inspirational book with a message a lot of people need to hear.

      Char is the guy we’re warned by friends to stay away from XD

  1. Incredibrarian

    The moment we met Harry, I was like “Elise, yes, YES!!” And Vicky was a true friend. She was loyal, but not afraid to tell yo when you were wrong. Rock star glory for Vicky!

    Char, ugh. I was glad when Elise recognized her worth! Pippa could have him!
    Incredibrarian recently posted…Incredibrarian…Issue #8

    • Bec

      YES YES YES HARRY!!! He was such a fun character. Why couldn’t he have more page time :( I want a friend like Vicky!!

      That was a good moment, when Elise stopped taking Char’s crap. I do hope Pippa comes to a similar realisation too. Her fixation on Char is so sad.

  2. Kirsty-Marie

    Ohh, I’m so going to have to read this one already (I keep hearing about it but didn’t pick it up because I thought it was going to be one of those super heavy subject books, which is just depressing) but it does sound like it’s done right, and balanced. Definitely picking it up the next time I see it, even if I’m going to hate Char.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Poppy

    • Bec

      It’s not a heavy subject book! Sure, there’s dark stuff, but the overall message is happy. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Bec

      There are a lot of raving reviews for this book! And it really does deserve such praise.

      Thanks! I’m glad that it seems to be as fun to read as it is to write.

  3. Allie @ Little Birdie

    Being completely genuine here, when I say you have changed my mind about this book. There’s definitely been so much hype surrounding it, but I’ve never actually been too interested to read it. I’ve seen so many reviews professing its awesome but, blah, I wasn’t bothered.

    Seriously though, I’m now super curious and really excited to give it a go! I love books about persevering and finding who you truly are :) what can I say? I’m a sucker for a good ‘coming of age’ type deal
    Allie @ Little Birdie recently posted…Review: Tiger Lily {Jodi Lynn Anderson}

    • Bec


      I was scared going into it because of the hype. And while there are things that stopped it being five stars for me, I can certainly see why it was so influential for so many people. I hope you pick it up and love it as much as everyone else does :)

  4. A Canadian Girl

    I haven’t read this yet but have seen so many positive reviews for it. I’m glad that you thought it was worth the hype, Bec. I’m always on the lookout for light, breezy books to read for when I’m supposed to be studying too so I’ll probably save this one for when I’m stressed and needing a break.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

    • Bec

      It’s a great stress reliever and can certainly help put things in perspective.

      Of course there’s also the fact that it’s addictive and you may put off more study than you actually do, which creates a whole other type of problem XD

  5. Joyousreads

    Ok, so. Why haven’t I read this book yet? What’s wrong with me? I’m kinda worried about Char, though. I’m afraid that character’s going to single-handedly be responsible for the book’s imminent flight to my wall.

    • Bec

      There are so many other good things going on in this book that Char is just a little annoyance. For me anyway. Some people might have stronger opinions when it comes to him but I just rolled my eyes and kept going because something better was always around the corner.

  6. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    YEAH! So glad you enjoyed it so much Bec! <3 Unfortunately, I didn't like this one as much as you did, but I'm definitely a black sheep for this one, so it's probably just me! ;) For me personally, I loved the writing, the characters, and Elise… but I felt it was missing something huge. :( Although I am SOO glad you like this as much as you did! It's definitely a powerful book! Thanks for sharing Bec, and, as always, brilliant review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Torn Away

    • Bec

      Aw that’s a shame, but we all have different tastes so *shrug* The writing was beautiful! But I know what you mean by something missing. But maybe it wasn’t as big a thing or me as it was for you :(


  7. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Ugh I really hated Char but it didn’t really affect my thoughts towards this book.

    Lovely review, Bec! <33

    • Bec

      Thankfully! If Char was any more involved or Elise got to Pippa-level obsessed I don’t think I could have finished it.


  8. Nitzan Schwarz

    I love love love this review! The gifs are perfect and I am SO HAPPY you liked it!!! I definitely think that “ERMAHGERD READ IT ASAPPP IT’S AMAZIIIING CHANGED MY LYFEEE” is the right reaction to anyone wanting to read this book :)
    OMG you ship Elise and Harry too!! YAY! It seems like they DO get together, considering they dance at the end! And I love the relationship with Char because it WASN’T a good relationship. Because he was just using her. It’s just so real – cause not every romance is going to be good, and not every romance is going to be what we want it to be, and not every romance is going to end well. And we learn from those. So, for that alone, I liked it. Even if I hated him :P

    Great review!
    Nitzan Schwarz recently posted…Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

    • Bec

      haha, thanks :)

      I think there is a Very Good Possibility they get together. It was quite heavily hinted at in the end. BUT I WANT TOR EAD ABOUT HTEM GETTING TOGETHER AND BEING CUTE KSHDKSD

      That is a very good point about the Char relationship. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    • Bec

      I just finished a different book that left me feeling that way. TSWSYL almost left me like that too but leaving it for a few days helped get some thoughts in order. Still, this was a hard review to write because how do you express all these feelings?!

    • Bec

      This is the only book I’ve read by her, but I think I might have to check out some of her others :)

    • Bec

      Very few seem to now days, but I’ve found a couple of hype worthy books recently :)

      haha, I wish the world worked that way XD

    • Bec

      Yes, I was worried about how things with Char would resolve. So happy it ended the way it did. If not I would have had to reduce my rating probably

    • Bec

      I’m so used to reading contemporaries that revolve around romance so this was refreshing. Buy it and read it!!

      Thanks :)

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