Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff (3 out of 5)
Hello boys and girls, women and men, presidents and aliens, today’s post is not out until Jan of 2015, so don’t go too crazy rushing your local bookstore (a real one, not that online charlatan pretending to be one) until early next year. The blurbs promise it to be similar to The Perks of Being A Wallflower. There are similarities in the dark matter that is covered, but there’s also a lot more dark in this book, whereas the latter had moments of gleaming hope. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the book it was compared to. I can, however, see where the comparisons come from, because there is a lot of the same vibe going on. I enjoyed this young adult title.
Sam and Hayden are best friends. When Hayden commits suicide, Sam is devastated and puzzled. In honor of his friend, he’s determined to figure out what clues Hayden left him. There isn’t much to go on. The night before Hayden’s death, there’s a party and a fight ensues. Then Hayden leaves the earth. There’s a playlist left for Sam, with a note, telling him to listen and he’ll understand. Sam does just that and tries to painstakingly figure out what drove Hayden to it and why he took that way out. Sam ends up also questioning the circle of people that he and Hayden have surrounded themselves with (when is a friend really a friend?) and ends up finding a lot out about himself. Sam comes to many hard realizations about himself, about Hayden, and about what he’s going to do now that he’s lost his best friend. How do you move on? How long do you grieve? How do you pick up the pieces around those people that you’ve known and who were in some possible way responsible for Hayden’s state of mind? It’s a book where questions are answered, and yet, some others are raised.
I really enjoyed Falkoff’s writing style. I thought Sam is a wonderful character. There are no short cuts with his character, and his rage and grief over Hayden’s death and the circumstances that led up to it (once he begins to figure it out) are believable and very real. You can feel the pain that this poor kid is in. I didn’t care for the shape shifter friends who were part of their circle. That girl Astrid? I really wanted to kick her teeth in. But again, dear reader, it’s for you to decide your likes and dislikes with the characters and the plot. I guarantee there isn’t much to not like in this book.
Playlists For The Dead is available from Harper Teen on January 27, 2015.