I loved reading PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD by Michelle Falkoff and I am so happy to be a part of this great tour for ROCK STAR big tours. Please visit and get to know this author a little better through my interview and then enter the giveaway at the end. Good Luck!

Author: Michelle Falkoff
Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
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.

About Michelle Falkoff

Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVADoubleTake, 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.

Without further delay here is my Interview with Michelle Falkoff. 

1. Michelle can you tell my readers what PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD is about?
It’s about a boy, Sam, whose best friend, Hayden, commits suicide and leaves behind a playlist of songs as a suicide note.  The songs raise questions for Sam about how well he really knew his friend, and when the bullies who’d been tormenting them start getting hurt, he ends up trying to figure out both why his friend left him behind and who’s responsible for taking revenge.

2. What made you decide to write a story that dealt with teen suicide for your first novel?
It’s a difficult topic, and not one I wanted to treat lightly.  I’d recently read two amazing books that dealt with suicide (13 REASONS WHY and LOOKING FOR ALASKA), and both of those books dealt with boys trying to understand girls’ motivations for making the decision.  I was curious about boys, both from the perspective of the decision itself—statistically speaking, boys tend to be more successful (what a terrible word, in this context) in their attempts—and in terms of being left behind by a friend.  I also lost a friend very suddenly to illness while I was writing, and I was struck by how powerless it felt to lose someone so unexpectedly.  As an adult, I felt like I completely lacked the resources to deal with it; I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go through something like that as a teenager, but I felt like I needed to try.
3. One of my favorite things about PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD was the song titles at the beginning of each chapter. Why did you select each particular song and was the selection process easy?
It was not easy!  At first, I looked at songs that were about suicide and death more generally, which would have made the playlist a pretty straightforward exploration of what Hayden was focused on.  But as I got into the story, I realized that the playlist could be something more: it could be Hayden’s way of putting together the songs that linked up to the events that led to his decision, and leaving it for Sam could be kind of like telling him a story.  An incomplete one, to be sure, since it’s not really possible for music to fully articulate someone’s thought process, but I don’t think people are necessarily focused on being cohesive and comprehensible when they’re going through that kind of torment.  Ultimately, I ended up picking songs that had a line or two that really struck me as representative of something Hayden might have been thinking about.

4. This sounds morbid but if you had to create your own Playlist what would be your song list and who would you want to listen to it?
That’s a really hard question!  (I’m sensing a theme in my responses here…)  I used to think it was possible for music to represent who we are, that we could learn things about people from the music they listen to, but I don’t think that any more—I’m constantly surprised by the songs my friends love, and I think our relationship to music is intensely personal in a lot of ways, without necessarily being reflective of our personalities.  When I make playlists for myself, they tend to be purpose-driven: I have a list of songs I like to sing in the car, or songs to run to, or songs to listen to when I need some cheering up.  If I were to make lists for other people, they’d be to introduce them to songs I love, perhaps ones that they might not have heard before.  I made a playlist on Spotify of some songs I’ve been enjoying lately—it’s called Tales of a Ravenous Reader and it’s under mfalkoff: Tales of a Ravenous Reader.  The PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD playlist is there too.

5. What do you hope that readers take away from reading PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD?
I think it’s important to remember that people are more than just the things we know about them, even if we know them really well.  Everyone has hidden depths, or secrets, or aspects of their lives that are private.  And everyone is going through things we don’t necessarily understand, which means we should always treat people with care and generosity—we have no idea what else is going on in their lives.
6. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a novel about a high school valedictorian who gets sucked into being part of a prescription drug ring.  Or something like that—we’ll see how it goes.

7. I have my favorite quote from PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD which is "Lots of people want to be invisible. Maybe they even think they can pretend to be. But someone always sees." What is your favorite quote?
I get very self-conscious talking about my own stuff, so I’ll give you one that was important to me, rather than saying it’s a favorite: “If there’s one thing I learned from the playlist, it’s how important listening to people can be.”

8. What is the best ways for readers to contact you?
There’s a link on my website that will get emails to me, but the fastest ways are probably through my Facebook page or Twitter account— and @michellefalkoff.

9. Who is your favorite character and why?
Oh, you know I have to say that I love them all, right?  But I do have a soft spot for some of the bad boys.  I love Jimmy, Rachel’s boyfriend, who’s an example of someone who looks a certain way but whose actions don’t line up with people’s expectations.  And I really feel for Hayden’s brother, Ryan—the story that Sam never fully gets to understand is how awful their home life was, and while Ryan’s way of dealing with it wasn’t a very good way, understanding his actions as coping mechanisms rather than as signs of inherent evil really changed him for me as a character

Thank you, Michelle for wonderful interview. It was a great pleasure to have you on the blog today. 
The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for 3 copies of PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD (US/Canada ONLY)
Giveaway ends on February 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific


Tour Schedule

Week One
1/26/15 Novel Novice – Guest Post (Author provides post & topic)
1/27/15 Me, My Shelf and I – Review + Excerpt (Author to provide excerpt)
1/28/15 Such a Novel Idea – Review
1/29/15 Fictitious Delicious – Review
1/30/15 Once Upon a Twilight – Interview

Week Two
2/2/15 Bumbles and Fairy Tales – Guest Post (Author provides post & topic)
2/3/15 Fiktshun - Review
2/4/15 Tales of a Ravenous Reader - Interview
2/5/15 Swoony Boys Podcast – Guest Post (Author provides post & topic)
2/6/15 Falling For YA – Review + Excerpt (Author to provide excerpt)


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