Author: Michelle Falkoff
Publication date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: ARC from publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins)
A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.
Here’s what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand.
As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it’s only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that’s always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it’s about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
For someone like me who has a huge fetish for playlists, this debut novel is a surefire attention grabber.
Mysterious and intriguing, Playlist for the Dead is a story that explores the after effects of losing someone because of suicide. Not only that, it’s also concerned with seeking answers to questions surrounding the tragedy. Books that deal with sensitive issues such as suicide are heavy but Playlist for the Dead does not feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders. I like that it has a bit of a light tone, effecting to a less serious and bearable reading experience. Playlist for the Dead has raw, emotional parts that bring out the grief and anger of Sam (the protagonist) and others affected by his best friend Hayden’s suicide. There is so much to learn about coping with loss from the authentic characters.
Aside from echoing the feel of the story, the featured playlist encapsulates the book’s essence. The music amplifies its emotional sound, creating a relatable ambiance for readers to genuinely become familiar with the fictional environment.
Playlist for the Dead is fast and thoughtful. It has engaging writing that will keep you reading until past midnight. Although the ending fell a bit flat for me, I liked that it concluded with questions answered, full of optimism for better days ahead after everything that happened.