Saturday, September 14, 2013

Just Another...Book Crush (#8): This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Just Another...Book Crush! is a monthly feature where I invite an author whose book I've recently reviewed and loved to write a guest post and share their three latest book crushes. It's a feature I'm starting mostly because I'm often very shy to approach authors, especially ones I admire, and also because I love reading guest posts since, more often than not, they convince me to pick up a book even when the reviewer cannot. 

Today I am welcoming Leila Sales, the author of This Song Will Save Your Life. I fell head-over-heels for this story back in July when I read an ARC of it and pre-ordered a finished copy for myself the moment I finished it. It simply spoke to me on a much deeper level and was written so poignantly. Although Leila wasn't able to write a guest post for today's feature, she is sharing her Top Three Book Crushes, so we're still in for a treat! :)

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.

Just Another...Book Crush!

The sorts of books that I love most are the ones where I have no idea how the author did what he or she did. When I come to plot reveals and am totally shocked, when I meet characters and can’t imagine what it would be like to view the world as they do—that’s what makes me fall for a novel. Here are three books I’ve read recently that I have made me feel that way:

The Edge of Falling, by Rebecca Serle. One of the things I love most about Rebecca’s novels is how detailed they are. People sometimes talk about “world-building” as though it’s only pertinent to fantasy or sci-fi novels. Not so. It’s those details that the author puts in—about inside jokes the protagonist and her friend have had since childhood, about what her mother’s shoes always sound like on carpeting, about Thanksgiving traditions—that make it seem like this world is real, and has always existed, and will continue to exist long after we, the readers, have turned the last page. There are few authors who manage to convince me of their worlds’ real existence as well as Rebecca Serle does.

Blackout and All Clear, by Connie Willis. Is it cheating to choose two books? They are really two halves of a whole, so I think it’s fair game to count them as one—right? Anyway, I love Connie Willis. She is my favorite living novelist. I never know where she is going with her plotlines. I read her books and sort of understand what is going on, have no idea what anything signifies, and am completely hooked the whole time. Some authors are very talented and dedicated, but Connie Willis is a genius. She seemed to disappear for close to a decade after publishing Passage, and I kept being like, “What on earth is Connie Willis up to these days? Why doesn’t she just write another book, huh?” Then I read Blackout, and I was like, “Oh.” It is the sort of novel you could spend a decade of your life writing and that would be one hundred percent justified.

Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. This is another one where I had no clue how the author did what she was doing, and I loved every minute of it. Like Blackout and All Clear, Code Name Verity is set in England during World War II, so maybe there’s something about that setting that I particularly like? I don’t know, mostly what I loved about this novel was not its history, but the complexity of its plot, the way it all fit together, the way it bucked so many assumptions and tropes of the YA world—and the friendship between the two main characters, of course. One thing that comes across in all of the stories I write is how much I value female friendships. They have been some of the most defining relationships of my life, as I think they are for many, many women, so I love seeing them explored in literature. I cried at the girls’ friendship in Code Name Verity. I won’t tell you at what point in the book because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you’ve read it, you’ll know.

--Leila Sales is the author of MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS, PAST PERFECT, and the forthcoming THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE (September 17, 2013). For more information visit her at or follow her on Twitter @LeilaSalesBooks.

I don't know about you, but I absolutely LOVED Code Name Verity, so I am definitely out to check out the other books Leila has recommended. Plus, if they're anything like her own novels in terms of character depth, I can't wait! Thank you so much for stopping by, Leila!


  1. I got to meet Leila in NYC at BEA and hear her speak at an event she is awesome! I am so excited for This Song (I don't know why I haven't read my ARC yet!)

    I've read Serle's debut and loved it so I'm keen for Falling, and so happy Leila chose CNV!!

  2. Awesome picks. These sound really interesting. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Oh I have heard some amazing things about this book and I need to read it. About book picks - I ask myself daily what's wrong with me. I mean so many people enjoyed Code Name Verity and here I'm. I couldn't finish it :( I'm missing all the magic. Great post Keertana :))

  4. Tanja, it took me a LONG time to get into CNV, but the pay-off is really worth it. I know you weren't overly blown away by Rose Under Fire, but CNV is definitely worth the re-visit if you're up for it. I think you'll wind up enjoying it a lot more the second-time around. :)

  5. Wow.. it seems like a LOT of people are loving This Song Will Save Your Life! I have an ARC and I can't wait to start it! Great picks!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  6. I love Connie Willis and I love anyone who loves Connie Willis. Also, I also love Leila Sales. I am SO looking forward to This Song Will Save Your Life and that's pretty much 100% due to your review. Fact.

    1. Aww, thanks Flann! I really hope you enjoy it - I'll be on the look out for your thoughts!(:

  7. I haven't read any of those or This Song Will Save Your Life. *hangs head in shame* I've heard such great things about it and Code Name Verity though, so I fully plan on getting to both soon and I can't wait:)

  8. Oh, yes, I adored Code Name Verity too, so I'll definitely try Rebecca Serle's book. I already tried with Blackout by Connie Willis and didn't have much luck, unfortunately, but perhaps I should give it another go.
    I love this post and can't wait to read This Song Will Save Your Life.

  9. I haven't heard of Connie Wills, but now I want to check out her work because they sound so interesting. Blackout sounds really cool :). I've heard so much about Code Name Verity and the companion novel. I got to read a lot of Holocaust literature since I took a class on it in High School and we did an entire unit on the events in Grade 8. I think that was my real introduction to what happened. I'd love to check out both books at some point :). I love this feature of yours Keertana! It's so awesome!


  10. You were so lucky to get Leila Sales on your blog! I think it's so interesting to read about authors' book crushes. :) I actually have an eARC of The Edge of Falling so I'm really happy to hear that it has great world-building. And of course I haven't read Code Name Verity, but I'm not surprised she loved it! I haven't heard of Connie Willis, but I'll have to look into her books sometime. Thanks for sharing, Keertana & Leila!

  11. I was so excited when I walked into the bookstore today and saw they had This Song Will Save Your Life out early. I grabbed it and ran to the checkout (in case they realized it was early and made me put it back). Needless to say, I'm SO excited about this book.

    Anyone who loves Code Name Verity is a bosom friend in my book. I've never heard of Connie Willis before but I will check her out immediately!

    Love this feature, Keertana.


  12. LOVE Code Name Verity, but I'll admit that I don't know much about Sale's other picks. Clearly that needs to change. I really enjoy getting an alternate look into authors minds by finding out the types of stories THEY like to read. I like her discussion about books that are different from the typical YA fair and that keep you constantly on your toes about where they are headed. Another great feature, K!


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