Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Spectacular Now, Michelle Falkoff’s debut is an honest and gut-wrenching novel about loss, rage, what if feels like to outgrow a friendship that’s always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself.
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.
“An absorbing and sensitive read.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Falkoff lightens the substantial topics of grief, bullying, and suicide with Sam’s engaging investigation.” —ALA Booklist
“Realistic and well-written. The strong characters, dialogue and the use of the playlist to structure the book make this a good pick for struggling readers.” —School Library Journal
“Falkoff treats a difficult topic with delicacy and care.” —Publishers Weekly
“Truly powerful moments.” —Kirkus Reviews
Michelle Falkoff is the author of Playlist for the Dead, Pushing Perfect, and Questions I Want to Ask You. Her 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. Visit her online at www.michellefalkoff.com.
How far would you go to be perfect?
Kara has the perfect life. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to believe. The truth is, she works hard to maintain that illusion.
But when a moment of doubt leads Kara to do something risky—and illegal—someone sees. Before she knows it, she’s drawn into an unlikely group of classmates, all bound together by secrets of their own. Secrets that are being used against them.
Soon Kara is forced to confront how far she’s willing to go to be perfect—and if that’s something she really wants to be.
“Reminiscent of the novels of Joan Lowery Nixon and Lois Duncan, this mystery set in a modern-day well-to-do suburb in California will keep readers turning the pages.” —School Library Journal
“Full of well-developed, diverse supporting characters. For teens who enjoy mysteries in the form of timely, realistic fiction.” —Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Readers will be kept guessing.” —Kirkus Reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a stunning, heart-wrenching novel of love and loss, which ALA Booklist called "both shatteringly painful and bright with life and hope" in a starred review.
Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away, and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family, and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn't told anyone—a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner.
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.
Patrick “Pack” Walsh may not know where he’s going in life, but he’s happy where he is. He’s got a job lined up for himself after graduation. A great girlfriend. And can’t really see himself ever leaving his small town. Then, on his eighteenth birthday, a letter from his mother changes everything. Because she’s dead. At least, that’s what he always believed.
As Pack begins a journey to uncover the truth about the parents he thought he knew, the family he didn’t know he had, and the future he never realized he wanted, he starts to have a whole different understanding of his life—and where he wants to go from here.
Questions I Want to Ask You is a contemporary realistic coming-of-age story with an emotionally-driven mystery at its core. Kirkus praised it as "a well-rounded, much-needed portrait."