Inspired by PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD, the debut novel by Michelle Falkoff, this list is comprised of YA books that heavily feature music and playlists. In PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD, each chapter begins with a song from a tragic playlist, left behind as a suicide note, saying: listen and you’ll understand.
But, the variety of this list reminds us that music can express a whole range of emotions—from joyful anthems, to somber ballads, and mushy love songs. Because what we love about music and books is that there’s a song and story for every occasion.
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Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now.
There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam’s 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. 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. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he’ll finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.
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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