Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review: Playlist for the Dead

Title: Playlist for the Dead
Author: Michelle Falkoff
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Format Read: Hardback

Description from Goodreads: 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 before 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 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.

I dove into PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD with high expectations based on the prose. It sounded like a story that would really hilight what it's like being on the other end of suicide; being the one that got left behind. Instead... well... I'm still not sure what I got.

PLAYLIST took a completely different turn from what I thought I was in for. The conflicts that I felt should have been there, weren't and the ones I thought shouldn't have been there, were. I was nearly halfway through the book when I wanted to put it down, but I held out hope that it might get better, and made myself finish it. Once I got to the ending, I realized that the playlist from Hayden really didn't have that big of an influence on the story other than Sam listening to it more times than he could count, and another thing I realized was that this story was very much trying to be in the vein of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. The last page of this book left me confused, and a bit blindsided by the dramatic change of paths towards the end, when instead of trying to come to terms with Hayden's death, Sam starts making new friends and trying to solve a mystery. It felt too forced, as if those things were supposed to show that Sam HAD moved on, when we knew that he hadn't.

One point five stars from me on this one. I still am not sure what caused the storyline to take such a turn, and it bothers me. So it's a low rating for me on this one. Two thumbs down.

Have any of you read PLAYLIST? What did you think?


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