Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff


Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015
Synopsis: 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. (Source: Goodreads)


“People are going to say a lot of things. And some of it will be helpful, and some of it will be annoying, and lots of it will get on your nerves. But they’re saying it because they found it helpful when they lost someone. They mean well.”

I really wanted to like this book, and I didn’t totally hate reading it but I cannot say it was good.

It is exciting, the plot leaves you guessing but it feels very standard. I did enjoy reading it a bit, so I feel bad that my rating fell so low but it wasn’t a book I would recommend. It was interesting in concept, but fell flat on delivery.

The idea of using a playlist was unique but in the end none of the songs mean enough that they needed to be included at all, the entire book wouldn’t change if Hayden had left a series of pictures or books or games or anything else. The songs are just briefly mentioned and then brushed away.

The book also has a skewed view of romance as the only reason to live basically. The few girl characters that exist only exist in their relation to males and are written as nearly one-dimensional tropes. It’s also riddled with mentions that girls are not geeks and don’t enjoy those sorts of things. If they do it’s fake or they’re some sort of rare pixies. That being said the male characters are all wonderfully fleshed out and feel very realistic.

There is no satisfying conclusion, huge events are explained away with “I wasn’t getting enough sleep,”. Characters who deserve to have justice brought to them end up being loved and romanticized because when you’re hurt doing anything is okay and completely forgivable.

A novel which had a great chance to be a poignant view of suicide ended up being a messed up romantic mystery that had one of the least satisfying conclusions I have ever seen.

Despite all this, it at least presents an interesting playlist which it refuses to actually use adequately;

So enjoy that.




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