Review Detail

3.7 1
Young Adult Fiction 11292
Playlist Will Tug at Heartstrings
Overall rating
Writing Style
Touchingly tragic and intriguing, Playlist for the Dead is a moving contemporary novel that deals with teen suicide and its after effects. Sam finds Hayden, his best – and only friend, unresponsive the morning after a party. Sam is left to figure out what exactly happened the night before, unsure how all the pieces fit together. All he has is a playlist with a note from Hayden saying he took his own life.

As a narrator, Sam is a deeply sympathetic character. He doesn’t have the entire picture and the reader struggles along with him as he goes on his journey to discover the truth. Michelle Falkoff has a delicate touch when it comes to Hayden’s suicide. There is nothing is simple. Suicide is complicated and in real life things can’t be explained in clear-cut terms. She doesn’t try to simplify what happened to Hayden with a single answer. The struggle Sam goes through, the struggle his family goes through, the struggle that even community goes through is real.

Falkoff allows the reader to feel the weight of Sam’s guilt and his confusion. As Sam tried to unravel the mystery, he discovers that he is not the only one that carries this guilt- this secret burdern. Others feel like they are to blame, that they should have known, that they could have done more.

It is difficult to say that there are things I loved about this book- the topic is serious. But I do love this book. It handles the topic of suicide and brings up the messy parts that sometimes society is afraid to talk about. This is a read for all teenagers and a book I believe should be discussed. The heaviness of Hayden’s suicide is balanced well with some humor and great references- Star Wars, video games, Donnie Darko. But Falloff doesn't allow the music or the pop culture references distract the reader from what is important. The mystery behind the events that happened that night creates a page-turner that allows Falkoff to talk about the issues while keeping the reader turning the page.

Overall, Playlist for the Dead is a important read that is full of intrigue, heartbreak, and the struggle people have when they have to remember the past while still moving on.
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