Thursday, April 6, 2017

Playlist For the Dead by Michelle Falkoff


Page Count: 288
Published on: January 27, 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Print: Paperback borrowed from Alex
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}


My Rating: 2 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

Here’s what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam’s best friend, Hayden, was dead. All he left Sam was a playlist of songs—and a note, saying that he took his own life. But what Sam doesn’t know is: Why?

To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn’t as reliable as he thought. Especially when someone claiming to be Hayden starts sending him cryptic messages, and a series of violent attacks begins on the bullies who made Hayden’s life hell.

Sam knows he has 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—including an eccentric, unpredictable girl who’s got secrets, too—that Sam will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story.

And maybe have a chance to change his own.


Hey, guys!

      Well, it's been a couple months since I've read this book. My boyfriend Alex bought this book right after Christmas and we both read it within a couple weeks of each other. This book wasn't the greatest, in my opinion. It didn't pick up until about three quarters in. Even though there were some pretty great songs featured in the chapter headings, there wasn't really any insight to how the playlist was supposed to explain Hayden's death. The characters weren't very impactful either. I remember some specific moments that will help me write this review, but overall this book wasn't very memorable. 

      I really did enjoy Sam's voice in the beginning, but as the book progressed, his voice became much younger and it gave me a middle-grade vibe. On top of that, there was a lot going on throughout the book. Sometimes it felt like a bit much, and as I mull over the book as a was a bit much. Considering Sam didn't even solve the mystery behind the playlist (he did for some songs but not really), you'd think that at least some would be solved. 

      I had to research some of the stuff that happened in the book. There were some instances where some weird stuff was happening to Sam. I thought he was just hallucinating, but reviews from other readers have convinced me that those moments were supposed to be something like magical realism. I don't think those moments were done as well as they could be. I guess I have a hard time understanding or grasping the whole magical realism concept. I haven't read a book that I've absolutely loved that featured magical realism. (Comment below if you know of any fantastic ones.)

      This book was somewhat engaging, but it definitely wasn't fast paced. It was very well thought out and psychological. I liked that Sam's voice was very genuine. He was easy to understand, but he wasn't my favorite character. I don't think I have a favorite character in this novel anyway. No one really made an impact on me. It was just very anticlimactic in my opinion. 

     My favorite aspect of this novel, however, is that it focused on how the character's suicide affected the family and friends of the victim. Unfortunately, I honestly think that Hayden's suicide was used as a plot device. There was no character growth, the grief that the characters felt was very understated. I didn't feel like Sam's character wasn't developed enough for this book. The whole suicide element was used to drive the mystery. Suicide is a very serious topic that shouldn't be used for those means. 

     I really thought this book would be about how a young man coped with his best friend's death, but it just turned into huge drama-fest. It just was not good.

Overall, I would not recommend this book to anyone. It just wasn't well done. The whole subject of suicide was used for all of the wrong reasons, the characters weren't developed, and it tried too hard to be a literary fiction piece rather than the YA contemporary it was marketed as. I'm not a fan. 

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Happy reading, all!
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