Playlist for the Dead
Booklist Reviews 2014 October #2
Sam is the one who discovers Hayden the morning after he committed suicide, along with a thumb drive containing a playlist and a note: "For Sam . . . Listen and you'll understand." Hayden was his best and only friend, and now Sam obsessively listens to the songs on the playlist, hoping they will reveal anything about why Hayden took his life. When two older boys guilty of cruelly bullying Hayden fall victim to violent attacks, Sam, still very much a loner, is rumored to be behind them. Bewildered not only by his grief but also by fatigue-induced hallucinations, Sam starts to fear the rumors are true and, with the help of an enigmatic and beautiful girl, sets out to find the truth not only about the attacks but also—and more important—what really happened the night Hayden died. Centering each chapter on one of the playlist's songs, debut author Falkoff lightens the substantial topics of grief, bullying, and suicide with Sam's engaging investigation into the culprit behind the assaults. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring
When his friend Hayden commits suicide after a party, fifteen-year-old Sam is determined to figure out why from using the playlist his friend left him. The playlist is a red herring, but it does lead Sam to learn about the jealousy, bullying, deceit, and guilt consuming everyone Hayden knew. A sad but faithful portrayal of high school friendship dynamics.
PW Reviews 2014 November #1
Sam find his best friend Hayden dead of an apparent suicide the morning after a party—the two boys were both bullied at school, but Sam still feels responsible. Hayden left Sam a playlist of music as a suicide note (the songs correspond to the book's chapters), which Sam listens to, eager for answers. Then strange things start to happen. Sam receives messages from someone using Hayden's IM handle, a girl named Astrid with connections to Hayden appears in Sam's life, and someone starts getting revenge against the "bully trifecta" who made life hell for Hayden and Sam—all of which make Sam question everything he thought he knew about Hayden. Debut author Falkoff gives Sam a strong voice to narrate his grief over the loss of his best friend and his confusion about the events that follow. Her efforts to add mystery to the circumstances surrounding Hayden's death are forced, however, and as the novel progresses, the revelations test plausibility. This aside, Falkoff treats a difficult topic with delicacy and care. A Spilled Ink Productions property. Ages 13–up. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC