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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

[REVIEW] Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Playlist for the Dead

Author: Michelle Falkoff
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: January 27th 2015 by HarperTeen
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now.

There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's 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. 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. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

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.


My thoughts

Lots of people want to be invisible. Maybe they even think they can pretend to be. But someone always sees.
Playlist for the Dead was quite disappointing for me. It's not that the book was bad; I guess I just set such high expectations. I was expecting this book to make me cry since it deals with grief, bullying and suicide. But nope, I was pretty much indifferent to the story. In spite of that, there were still things I liked about the book.

To begin with, I couldn't connect with the main character. I know Sam was having a hard time dealing with his best friend Hayden's suicide, and on top of that, Hayden left him a playlist that would make him understand. Sam's plagued with so much guilt and anger, but I couldn't really sympathize with him. 
I liked the romance between Sam and Astrid, though. It was awkward and cute and slow-building. They bonded over their shared grief and guilt, and they both have secrets. But I think they were truly good for each other. Also, Astrid gave Sam a chance to meet people and have new friends.

The writing was okay, but I was kinda confused with the plot. There's a lot of stuff going on – the attacks, Hayden's story, the playlist, Archmage_Ged, Astrid – that it almost made me exhausted just thinking how it all fit together. But I liked how well the author played the mystery factor. I was frustrated at first because I thought everything was so obvious that it was stupid of Sam to not figure things out immediately. The predictability was a trap! Just when I thought I nailed it down, the story took a sudden turn that's so far from what I thought would happen. 

In the end, I didn't really understand the sense of Hayden's playlist and I wasn't sure Sam did either. He was closer to acceptance though, and that was a good thing. Also, it was good that Sam was pretty smart in dealing with what Astrid did. I'm not saying he shouldn't forgive her ever, but his reaction was very real, and I liked that he acknowledged that what Astrid did was wrong and that forgiveness takes time. Playlist for the Dead conveys an important message about some tough issues, and even though I wasn't really sold with how it was delivered, I'm sure a lot of readers would relate with this story. 
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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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