Friday, 30 January 2015

Review: Playlist for the Dead

Playlist for the Dead
Publication Date: January 27th 2015        
Publisher: HarperTeen
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 
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.

So I'll get straight to the point.
I didn't love it.
I didn't hate it.

Again, I'm in middle ground territory and I freaking hate that, and the fact that I so wanted to love it, it's very music orientated as well, and come on, that's perfect for me, which makes me dislike it more because I didn't love it. But, that's not down to the story, or the message behind the story.
It's down to the characters.

Because these characters. Ugh. Okay, Sam wasn't so bad, he was an okay narrator and he's feeling what anyone would feel with what happened. He feels angry and guilty, he's easy to read and he's not hard to like. But hard to connect to.

The said friend that killed him, however? Hayden was not easy to like. At all. You should feel sorry for him, right? With what he had to live with, with what he had to put up with, but the more we got to know him through Sam, through conversations they had, he more I started to dislike him. He came off as harsh, and in some places, an idealist. I know Sam said that their arguments were fun, that Hayden took it way too serious, and maybe he took them way too serious because he was trying to put his ideals onto Sam. He had no control in his life in any way-bar the one way he found, his choice to take his own life- that he had to control something and when Sam didn't like something he did-or not as much, he got mad. See? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it's just me, but I didn't like the guy.
And then we have Astrid. Astrid, Astrid, Astrid, I didn't like her one bit either, she came across as false to me, and although there is a reason for that, the issue was she was supposed to be genuine with Sam, but for me, it didn't come off that way, every other character apart from Sam himself seemed 2D, which...made the romance a bit...meh, too. Didn't feel anything between them, though they did have things in common, and there was a whole lot of almost I love you-I've never felt like this before- you get me- type of insta-love going on. So I didn't really care where that went.

I enjoyed Playlist for the Dead, but when I compare it to a similar one I've read this year, it didn't give me the same emotion or closure that I Was Here did.

Rating: 3/5


  1. I really want to read this but I just finished I Was Here. I think I need to put a few books in between to distance this subject. I think it'll be difficult for me not to compare the books. I need something happy to read right now.

    Michelle @ Michelle's Minions

    1. Yeah, I read them pretty close together, to get them out of the way, so it was easier for me to know whether I liked it or not comparing them. But it's not too bad or sad, but I guess it also depends on if you like the characters or can relate to them, which I did neither. :(

  2. Ah yes it's difficult when you can't connect with the characters like that. I'm sorry it was the case with this book, it happens to me from time to time too. I think I'll pass.... Thanks for the discovery though.

  3. This was a little tricky for me, I picked it up at the end of last year to read and ended up putting it back down around 20%, but when I realized the release date was coming up, I decided to give it another try. I liked it the second time around but I felt like it could've been stronger.

    Great review!

    1. It could've been because I read them all close together? But just didn't think it was done justice as much as the others. :(

  4. Ah yes- the ever popular didn't love or hate. Those are really hard to review at times

  5. I know this might sound awful, but I don't think I can do another suicide book right now. A few weeks ago I was championing the latest mental health books, but my goodness, I can't anymore. I need a break! Someone give me fluff, stat!

    Fine, I will talk about this book, if I must ;) The thing is, it has to be VERY hard to read a book like this when you don't like the character that you are supposed to be mourning. How can that even work!? Like, I assume you almost feel bad that you don't feel bad enough? Very nice review, I think I will be skipping this one for now!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    1. Ha! Yeah, I felt like that, but thought I might as well get them over with in one go, and I think that way I felt less compared to All the Bright Places, it was easier for me to think, well, was it as good as that? I'm the person who'll give it higher for the message despite whether I really liked it or not. Like after reading The Fault in Our Stars, the next Cancer book I read wasn't as good as that but because I hadn't read one for a while, it felt like it was, does that makes sense? (Probably not, haha, I can't explain it).

      Yeah, I felt bad for him, all the crap he went through with being picked on and his parents being like they were, and even his own brother, which is probably why he wasn't much of a nice character himself, but just didn't feel bad enough to like him.

  6. Sorry you didn't really like this one. I hate that you didn't really feel for Hayden, since that's probably a large POINT of the book. I was quite excited about this one, so I don't know...might still check it out at some point.


    1. Exactly, I could sympathize with him, but he still wasn't much of a nice character, maybe it's because we're getting to know him through the perspective of his best-friend? It just didn't go well with me I think, and probably the others I read also influenced how I felt about it, but hopefully if you do, you'll like it a lot more! :)