27 January 2015

{Excerpt + Giveaway} Playlist For The Dead

By: Me My Shelf And I | 27 January 2015 at 12:15 AM | | | | | | | | |


About The Book

PlaylistfortheDead official cover

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.

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Death is never an easy thing to handle, be it expected or unexpected. Having lost people both as a teenager and as an adult, I can tell you that when I was a teenager it was especially hard to understand and process and PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD perfectly sums up all the conflicting emotions, and questions you're left with when someone you know and care about is suddenly gone.

Sam has lost Hayden, in fact it's even worse than that – Sam FINDS Hayden that fateful morning after Hayden has taken his own life. All that's left is an empty pill bottle, some vodka and a playlist reading LISTEN AND YOU'LL UNDERSTAND. Each song is melded perfectly into the book, each chapter using one to teach you something or explain a part of Sam and Hayden's life as friends. Each song, as they are for more people – a memory. Sam spends all his time, utterly obsessed with the playlist expecting that it will reveal the reason Hayden did what he did. What he finds with in it is so much more.

A fantastic coming-of-age story that grips tight to one of the hardest parts of living, and growing up and makes it a beautiful life lesson.



After the prayers, the minister started asking for testimonials. “Anyone who wants to speak, anyone who has something to share,” he said. There was an awkward pause. Finally, Hayden’s father stood up. I couldn’t bear to look at him, to see him crying as if he’d lost something so valuable to him when I knew the truth, how he spent all his time at work or traveling or visiting the woman Hayden knew he was sleeping with, the one who went on all his business trips with him.

But I couldn’t block out the sound of his voice. “Hayden wasn’t the son I expected to have,” he said. “I’d imagined playing catch in the yard, watching football on the weekends, going fishing. The things I’d done with my dad; the things I do with Ryan. It was the only kind of relationship I knew how to have with a son.” His voice cracked. “But my second son didn’t enjoy any of those things. He loved music and video games and computers. I didn’t know how to talk to him. And now I’ll spend the rest of my life wishing I’d learned how.” He lowered his head, as if he were trying to hide the fact that he was crying.

It was a great performance. If only a single word of it were true.

I looked over to see Ryan in the front row. He was shaking his head, which surprised me. I would have thought he’d agree with every word that came out of his father’s mouth, like he always did.

I thought about getting up there, what I could say about my best friend, the stories I could tell. I could talk about how we’d met at a Little League tryout when we were eight, not that long after I’d moved to Libertyville. Neither of us had wanted to be there; Hayden was short and chubby even then, and to say I was uncoordinated was a pretty serious understatement. We both missed every pitch, dropped every ball thrown to us from even the shortest distance, and finally we’d run away from the field, pooling our change to buy one of those orange Dreamsicle pops from the ice cream truck. Our parents had been furious, but we didn’t care.

I could talk about waiting in line to get into the new Star Wars movie when we were twelve, not realizing how crappy it was going to be, how we’d spent months trying to decide what costumes we’d wear, ditching the obvious—C3P0 for me, R2D2 for him—in exchange for Boba Fett and Darth Vader, because they were more badass. I could talk about how Ryan and his buddies had followed us and egged our costumes and we’d had to sit through the endless movie feeling the eggs drying on our costumes and our skin, but we’d still had a good time.

I could talk about how excited we’d been to start high school last year, the first time we’d be at the same school, how convinced we’d been that once we were together things would be better. We couldn’t have known how wrong that would turn out to be.

But what would be the point of saying any of those things? Everyone might pretend to care now, but it was too late.

About The Author


Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake, and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law. This is her first novel.

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3 copies of PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD (US/Canada ONLY)
Giveaway ends on February 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. I'm so glad that you liked this one! I've been seeing mixed reviews, so I guess the only way to find out whether I'll like it or not is to actually read it myself. Anyway, great review! :)
    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

  2. Yeah I created a playlist for my wedding party and for the kids birthday parties etc. My youngest is seven and he likes certain songs for his parties so I always make sure I have his favorites up.

  3. Oh, this book sounds SO good!
    I make playlists for all aspects of my life, and have actually done what this book is about. It helps.


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