“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by the fantastic people over at Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we are excited about.
For this week my pre-publication selection that I can’t wait for is:
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Set For Release On: January 27th, 2015
Summary From Goodreads:
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.
My first thought when I came across this book was that the cover made me excited to read it, simply because I love listening to music, and it seemed like the book might cover musical discussions, like how a specific song/artist might make a person feel. So that was certainly enough to get me to use it as a WoW post on its own.
Then I read the summary and immediately was reminded of one of my favorite books, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Both books have the MC listen to something (tapes or a playlist), both go over the difficult topic of suicide, and each book makes the MC take a second look at their surroundings and the people they thought they knew. I’m certainly intrigued to see how they compare and contrast.
Have you heard of Playlist for the Dead, or the Michelle Falkoff? If you have, are you planning on getting it too? What book are you “Waiting On”? Let me know in the comments and/or leave a link to your own WoW post! Thanks for checking out my Waiting On Wednesday! ^.^
Summary From Goodreads:
Scott Wagner is used to coasting through life as a nobody. His adoptive parents don’t expect anything from him, but they spend more time inebriated than they do being a family. He is invisible at school, and no one talks to him besides his pothead wingman Aaron Marshall. His only other friend Emily Barnes makes up the better half of his gaming club, and he’s not proud of the fact that a girl in junior high can beat him up digitally.
It’s a safe but dull life, a holding pattern of smoking joints and playing video games until a series of chance encounters strips Scott of his invisibility. Forming a band with Emily and some new friends, Scott gains much needed approval from his parents while at the same time coming under scrutiny from Emily’s father, a hard-nosed cop who thinks Scott is a bad influence on his daughter.
Scott’s stumbling path to adulthood is a journey of self-discovery, offering him new friendships, a closer connection to his family, and a taste of young love. But it also brings painful lessons about dealing with prejudices, making sacrifices, and dealing with tragic losses. Between the emotional highs and lows, Scott learns how even a nobody can be special to somebody.
Nobody Special is an interesting read, especially for those that have read Whitten’s work before. Normally there is some sort of taboo involved, regardless of the book is contemporary or supernatural, and that is what sets it apart and makes it unique. However, Nobody Special is far more of what I dare to call a “mainstream” book, but that does not mean it suffers because of it.
Issues are tackled, from homophobia to racism, age gaps in relationships to control and even suicide. The difference is that Nobody Special does it in such a natural way that you can hardly tell you are dealing with some of the issues until either the characters make it obvious, or you reach the end of the book and realize, “Hey, that sure covered a lot of interesting points.” All of these concerns that are so prevalent in society today are looked at and examined, but while often there isn’t an incredible amount of detail so as not to take the focus away from the story, the book as a whole gets you thinking. I imagine that was Whitten’s goal, and if so she succeeded with flying colors.
As far as the main story goes, there are a few minor issues I had, mostly to do with some info dumps in the beginning, and a few sections that felt repetitive. Despite those small problems, the music aspects were great, the romances sweet as can be, and the entire thing had a feel of innocence and wonder about it. The main character, Scott, learns what it takes to step out of his comfort zone and anxieties and how to find self-worth and confidence. He learns that even minor achievements can be fulfilling and hard work really can get you very far, no matter what you end up pursuing as your goal.
Emily, the best friend (or at least one of them) in this story, is a fabulous character. She’s funny, a bit of a goof at times, and brilliant without being in your face about it. Emily was one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read about in some time, and incredibly easy to fall in love with. She’s a sweetheart with a backbone of steel, and what better combination is there than that?
Much of Nobody Special is introspective and serious, and certainly there are very grim moments in the story, but they are well balanced with witty dialogue and budding young friendships and romances. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good contemporary read. I think it would be categorized as YA based on the character’s ages, but adults will enjoy this title as well, I know I did. Thanks as always for reading.