Just a quick Friday Reads today, to give a shout out to another of my fellow Fearless Fifteeners! Michelle Falkoff's PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD comes out on January 27th, and I got to read it a week ago as part of the Fearless Fifteeners ARC tour. I really enjoyed it! PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD is about Sam, whose best friend Hayden commits suicide and leaves behind a playlist of songs that he says will explain everything. Of course, to Sam—reeling from losing his best (and only) friend and feeling tremendous guilt about what happened the last time they spoke—the playlist doesn't really explain much at all. That doesn't stop him from becoming obsessed with it. But when he meets a girl he didn't know Hayden knew, Sam starts to discover what life without Hayden might be like. He also learns that there are things Hayden wasn't telling him—and that Sam isn't the only person feeling guilty and responsible for Hayden's death. This book is part mystery, as the events that led up to Hayden's decision are gradually revealed. But it's also a portrait of grief and recovery. It's a story of how you can be best friends with someone and still not know everything about him or share everything about yourself, and it's a story about how you can learn to move on when that person is gone.
To keep things light (haha!), I picked up Ian McEwan's ATONEMENT next, and I spent the week marinating in his prose. I'd seen and loved the movie, so I knew the plot; I just wanted to read it in his words. And wow, this book did not disappoint. Its glacially paced, artfully rendered opening chapters. Its raw, visceral depictions of a world at war. Its unflinching portrayal of a young girl's lie, and the pain and loss that result from that lie. And its ending, with that young girl now an old woman reflecting on the past and still trying to atone for the trouble she caused. If you haven't read ATONEMENT yet (or, I suppose, seen the movie…), definitely pick it up.
Are you reading anything good right now? I want to hear about it! :)