A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.
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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I don’t know, maybe I’ve read so much hardcore fiction about broken homes, suicide, bullying, angst and awkwardness that this book really can’t speak to me. Here’s what I would say: if you are a music junkie that loves angry music and real rock (I’m talking non-mainstream rock) and ‘old’ music (I’m talking 70s, 80s, 90s, early 2000s,) then you should read this book. If you are someone who liked ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven or even THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky, then I would recommend you read this book.
However, if you read a lot of hardcore contemporary and you love music but you’re not a junkie, I would not recommend this book. I would recommend that you read either ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES or THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (both well-written, happy books about sensitive subjects such as that listed above ^^).
Here’s the thing that gets me about gritty fiction: it helps me to step into someone’s skin and walk around in their shoes. It creates sympathy and understanding for me. In this book, I felt absolutely nothing. Everything felt fake, from Sam’s reactions to his best friend dying to the way he never really saw what his best friend was going through. Unlike ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, PLAYLIST makes me feel completely underwhelmed. By the end, I really didn’t care nor did I feel like I really knew anything about the characters.
I think that a lot of books sprung up in the wake of Jay Asher’s brilliant THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, along the same vein and storytelling method, and this was one of the stories that just didn’t work for me. For someone who wants something music-related and pretty light hearted, I think you’ll enjoy this story. It just wasn’t for me. I think that the romance saved it a little bit, I liked the lessons at the end and the overall plot wasn’t bad, but the book and its characters just didn’t speak to me. 2 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 288