I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Published by Harper Collins on January 27, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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.
Imagine waking up one morning after sleeping at your friend’s house and finding that your friend killed himself while you were in the room. This is Sam’s new world. Hayden’s suicide and the playlist he left Sam, sent him on a journey which turned more into a quest, to find answers after one critical night that seemed to be the tipping point in this tragedy. The road to the answers that Sam seeks is certainly a twisty one, and as we find out more about their friendship and about Hayden’s life, it’s obvious that Hayden dealt with a lot. Some of it Sam knew about and some of it he did not. Being the person left behind to figure everything out is a terrible weight for Sam, and that pain is somewhat communicated, but was not as deeply as I hoped it would be. Sam’s discovery of a life that Hayden kept to himself was a big part of the book, but there were some pretty convenient coincidences revealed throughout the book that took me out of the story a little bit.
I just found this book to be a little confusing in that I wasn’t sure what story I was supposed to be following. There was a story about a boy who was bullied mercilessly, there was a story about a suicide, there was a sort of mystery about the clues that Hayden left behind in the form of the playlist. All of these different aspects of the story were interesting, but none of them were fully developed, so it just kind of fell flat. I thought the subject matter was very timely and intriguing, but I never felt Sam’s grief over Hayden. I never felt his rage over Hayden’s treatment. He was just sort of blah. For this kind of book, at least for me, I really need to connect with the character and he just wasn’t developed enough, I think. This wasn’t a bad book, per se, but it didn’t really elicit any strong emotions, which, given the subject matter, seems disappointing. There may be people who really do connect with Sam. I just wasn’t one of them.