Though difficult at times to read, Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff is a heartfelt and honest look at the consequences of teen bullying, and the struggle to understand, accept, and move on after a terrible loss.
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 and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, 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. But above all, it’s about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.
Playlist for the Dead is filled with honest rage and despair, and above all, feels terrifyingly naked and real. The emotional depth of this book is so startlingly spot on that it’s the same reason reading it was, at times, difficult — it felt too real.
Falkoff does a brilliant job of capturing Sam’s struggle after his best friend’s suicide: his struggle to understand, accept, and move on. His struggle to balance grief with the possibility of new love and new friendships. His struggle to discover the truth about his late friend’s despair.
Playlist for the Dead is a raw, emotionally powerful coming-of-age story that will give many readers something to cling onto while struggling with their own personal challenges of adolescence. Look for it in stores January 27th.