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Playlist for the Dead (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 27. Januar 2015
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“An absorbing and sensitive read.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Debut author Falkoff lightens the substantial topics of grief, bullying, and suicide with Sam’s engaging investigation.” (ALA Booklist)
“Realistic and well-written…The strong characters, dialogue and the use of the playlist to structure the book make this a good pick for struggling readers.” (School Library Journal)
“Falkoff treats a difficult topic with delicacy and care.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A nice premise with some truly powerful moments.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“[A] debut novel that limns the shifting boundaries of teen friendship, loyalty and identity. Playlist takes the expected conventions of stories about teen grief and turns them inside out, keeping readers guessing until the final chapters.” (Austin American-Statesman)
Here's what Sam knows:
There was a party.
There was a fight.
The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead.
All he left Sam was a playlist—
and a note, saying
that he took his own life.
but what Sam doesn't know is:
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. Especially when someone claiming to be Hayden starts sending him cryptic messages, and a series of violent attacks begins on the bullies who made Hayden's life hell.
Sam knows he has 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—including an eccentric, unpredictable girl who's got secrets, too—that Sam will finally be able to piece together his best friend's story.
And maybe have a chance to change his own.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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It is a story that tackles a tough subject, but does so in a way that is not too heavy, yet still weighty enough for readers to make an emotional connection with the story and its characters and to give them a number of things to think about.
It introduces a boy who is completely lost, alone, riddled with guilt, and desperate to understand what part he played in his friend’s decision. It follows him in the days and year after the suicide as he tries to interpret the meaning behind each song in the playlist and build a new life for himself.
The author lets both readers and her main character, Sam, try and solve the puzzle together about just what led Hayden to choose to end his life. Through Sam’s memories, the memories of a few others who knew him, and the songs on Hayden’s playlist, readers will get to know Hayden, come to empathize with his struggles, and perhaps understand why he did what he did.
And while this is in part a story about Hayden, it’s very much a story about Sam and everyone that Hayden left behind. PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD focuses on what happens to those whose lives Hayden impacted, how they cope with the loss, how they adapt, how they survive.
It is sad and sweet and heartfelt and heartbreaking. It asks the question “why,” and it reveals the answer in a way that feels a little bit like a mystery. It gives readers a peek into a friendship that was on the verge of changing, one with secrets, one that had its ups and downs, but one that still had a strong bond. And it invites readers to listen to the songs, which are announced at the beginning of each chapter, in order to feel even more connected.
Michelle Falkoff created a likable and thoughtful and interesting character in Sam to tell her story through. He was shy and awkward, like Hayden, but he was also much stronger than his friend, making for a compelling narrative. She wrote a story with a number of important messages, quietly delivered, that will keep readers thinking long after the story’s end. Ideas about forgiveness, and blame, and vengeance, and acceptance.
PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD is a poignant and engaging and relatable story and one that is a must for readers who enjoy incredibly touching, coming-of-age stories and those who know just what it’s like to be in Sam’s shoes.
Sam's best and only friend left behind a playlist after committing suicide, a death for which he feels responsible. Maybe, just maybe that list of music holds clues to the reason why Hayden overdosed. Sam's sure their argument was the reason, as well as bullying from Hayden's own brother. But then he meets Astrid and her friends, starts coming out if his shell, and learns things about his buddy he never knew. Is finding new friends, and maybe even a girlfriend disloyal to Hayden?
I had a hard time getting into PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD, probably because I'm neither a video game nor music buff, Sam's two biggest interests. Once he started interacting with Astrid, her friends, his sister and her boyfriend, Sam became a much more interesting character and I embraced the story, but it was a slow start. The more I read, the more I liked Sam and I appreciated his strong moral compass. His sense of right and wrong helped him realize the strength he didn't realize he had, and he did grow as a character. Michelle Falkoff did a good job creating multidimensional characters, even the characters who seemed black and white had internal motivations of self preservation Sam hadn't originally understood. In the end, I liked and respected him. Falkoff captured the essence of a high school boy, a misfit who fit better than he realized.
Themes: suicide, bullying, family, siblings, first romance, music, video games, depression, grief
PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD is a very good book that will appeal to both boys and girls covering important social and mental health topics.
“Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was finding people surprising these days. It made me wonder whether everyone had these secret lives, these aspects of themselves that didn’t match who they seemed to be.”
Where to begin with this? For starters, don’t worry about the music. I did listen to some of the songs but it’s really not necessary to follow the story. The music has more to do with Sam and Hayden’s relationship than the actual storyline. The songs on the playlist are meant to help Sam understand why Hayden committed suicide, but after listening to it several times the songs only confuse him.
During the story Sam finds that Hayden had other friends he didn’t know about and secrets he was keeping even from his best friend. The bullying everyone was aware of, but slowly though-out the book Sam is introduced to new characters and new perspectives of the fate filled night at the party.
What I really loved about this book is that it’s psychologically light, but layered with the emotions those that are left behind face: guilt, blame, anger, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness. It could be possible that everyone and no one is to blame for Hayden’s death. The narrative by Sam also made me able to really understand his feelings at any point in the story. Just how a passage was written would leave me just as frustrated or confused as Sam. Bravo.
What I didn’t like is, like in so many other YA novels, the complete lack of parent interaction. It seems like a go-to fix-it for YA novelists if you need parents out of the way, then the kid has a no-show dad and mother who is either a) a waitress at a 24/7 dinner or b) a nurse with odd hours.
Overall, Playlist for the Dead is a great realistic fiction novel from this debut author. I recommend it for anyone who likes psychological YA fiction that’s on the tragic side.