Wednesday, February 11, 2015

'Playlist for the Dead' by Michelle Falkoff


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 NowPlaylist 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.

I'm not entirely sure about this book. I feel like this 

I liked the plot. It was interesting. You were thrown into this world of Sam's life. The dullness of it until Hayden took his life. The blame. The bullies. We were given the hint of Archmage_Ged. (Who is this guy?) We were given Astrid the pretty girl that made Sam's heart race. We were given hints of the 'why'. (And you do want to know why.) And the playlist.
The plot leads us to the others who believe they did it. The one Hayden went to the party for. The girl who set up the two. Not only do we have that, we have a revenge-seeker, punishing the bully trifecta one-by-one. We have an un-closeted gay Jason and a roughed-up Trevor. And Ryan is almost destroyed. We have these people who are so distraught, faking or not. They go to such measures to prove they cared. To say that Hayden was killed by so and so. Even if it wasn't anyone's fault really. Hayden took the pills. He could have felt the need  for any factor. 
Sam needed to realize that. 

Sam as a character isn't too much. He's not that funny. He isn't that interesting in general. (I apologize if I'm rude.) But without Hayden's death, he would be quite bland. He's interested in video games. In comic books. In music. Okay. So do something with that. What are you doing for college, Sam? What after? He doesn't seem to think ahead. And while he does seem a bit...socially awkward, that doesn't mean you can't try to make friends. I know Hayden was your two-peas-in-a-pod guy. But still. You have to move on. It's part of the healing process. 
Sam's emotional struggle with his blame for Hayden's death. The after of such events is fascinating. How will he react? How will he live on? He has to get through the pain. I've never experienced such a loss. But moving on while remembering them is important. Even if it seems bleak. I'm quite happy with the fact that he finally gets help. The loss he must feel...must be immense. 
Astrid was such an interesting character. She was funny. (Enough. Funny enough.) Kind. The geek girl type. Perfect for our Sammy boy, right? Not really. She holds many dark secrets. The girl before the accident. The girl Sam doesn't see. The girl Sam doesn't know about. It's fascinating, really. I didn't like her entirely. But it was interesting to see her reactions to things. And her actions to Sam finding out... 

The mysterious element with Archmage_Ged was wow. You didn't know who this guy was. You were kept guessing. With the element of Sam seeing the Archmage in his can't help but wonder. Who is this mysterious figure? It can't be Hayden. Hayden's dead. Is this just a dream? Do you ever know? (You do find out. Don't worry.) It is an eternal question. You don't really have an answer. It's barely touched in the ending. Which is something I didn't like. 

I didn't like the ending. It felt like there was such an amazing build-up. But the ending was lackluster. It doesn't seem like it matches the build up. It felt...lame. Like there was a happily ever after. I wanted someone to suffer a bit. Seems like that happened to Astrid. We have this sharp decline in what happened.
This guy had happiness. (Sam, I mean.) He deserved it. It seemed...a bit wrong for the other people to get happy endings. 
Also. Is anyone else wondering why Sam's sister Rachel was so nice to him? Just seems...odd. It's not like she was even nice to him before. So why now? Was she pulling the pity card? I'm not sure. It's hard to tell. 
I just didn't feel like the unveiling of the truth was good. This is a major thing. It just seemed...lackluster. I know Jess was a good person. I know she was just duped. But still. 
I'm happy that Sam realized the truth. I'm happy he finally got his answers. But they were terrible answers.

The romance. Ugh. I hate it. Why does Astrid think she would be good with Sam? Please... I didn't like that. But the Athena girl and Hayden? Nice. That does seem possible.
Why did this have to end up as a romance book? Really. It could have been better without. I didn't need the romance. At all. It wasn't needed. 
And...anyways...why was Astrid and Sam a good fit? I don't see it. Astrid was definitely attracted to Sam. Probably because of his geekiness. How about Sam? No clue. At all. 

Cloudy with a light fog

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