Monday, April 25, 2022

Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff

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.


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, 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.



I grabbed this book from my local library’s ebook collection, as my daughter brought it home from school. When she told me what it was about I asked if she’d like me to read it alongside her too, like a buddy read, in case she had questions really. So we have both been reading and chatting. She’s 13, and has autism, so I wasn’t sure how she would manage with the themes in this one.


The main theme is suicide. You find out very quickly that Hayden has taken his own life, and it’s his best friend Sam who finds him. The rest of the book is about grief, bullying, friendship, and loss, and it’s been written in quite a good way for young adults to learn about these things without it being too much. I liked the way each chapter was the name of a song, all the songs from the playlist Hayden left for Sam. It’s made me listen to them, and I know my daughter found a playlist for this book and she’s been listening too.


I enjoyed it, gave it 4 stars, and would happily read more YA like this alongside my daughter if she wanted me to.


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