Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Publication Date: Published April 1st 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
No. of pages: 336 pages
Date read: May 17-19, 2016
My rating: ★★★★✩
Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?
It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.
Love Letters to the Dead for me is a very light yet very heartwarming book. I think I can read this in one sitting if it wasn’t for my summer routine (watch at day; read at night). I have been anticipating to read this for a long time now because of its intriguing title and utterly gorgeous cover until I got the ebook and it’s suddenly on the top of my TBR list. AND IT DIDN’T DISAPPOINT.
Love Letters to the Dead was told through a voice of a fifteen year old girl, Laura, whose parents are separated and whose elder sister is dead. It’s almost a year after her sister, May‘s death. Laura decided to go to a different school where she thinks nobody would know about her and her dead sister. Her father decided that she should live with her aunt, who is single and very religious, every other week since her aunt’s house is closer to her new school. Apparently, her mom left her and her dad after her sister died so Laura and her father are the only ones who live in their house anymore. The whole story was told through Laura’s letters to dead people which started in her first day at her new school.
“Dear Kurt Cobain,
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.”
Just the mention of Kurt Cobain somehow caught me to finish the rest of the story despite of the childish narration. Even though Laura has finished her assignment, she didn’t turn it in instead she wrote a couple more to several different dead people all throughout the school year. The story went on with Laura grieving over her sister’s death, her mother’s departure and the constant reminder that as much as she wants to be just like her sister, she can’t because she is her own self.
Without much struggle, she’s made great friends, so great that even I want to have friends like them. She has Hannah who is your outgoing chic but also has hidden vulnerability, Natalie is your very understanding and generous friend, Tristan is the brother you never had, Kristen is your friend who has her life all planned out and Sky is your mysterious dreamy boyfriend.
I love how all of the characters are thoroughly played out. They all are not that perfect, but perfect enough to be real. If you’ll read the story by means of criticizing, you’ll find some flaws about how it is narrated by a fifteen year old girl who comes about to a ten year old girl then occasionally blurts out some metaphorically deep quote. I wasn’t bothered by this at all. I recommend you reading it just for the purpose of enjoyment and you’ll find yourself hooked by it and having fun.
This is a tale about forgiveness, dealing with loss, and accepting yourself (and how high school sucks). It has the perfect amount of humor, drama, romance and poetry. This book may have the simplest writing style and plot but I can say it all sums up to a great book. I definitely recommend you shouldn’t miss it.
“You can be noble and brave and beautiful and still find yourself falling.”
“I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.”
“And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to be just a character, going whichever way the story says. It’s knowing you could be the author instead.”
“You think you know someone, but that person always changes, and you keep changing, too. I understood it suddenly, how that’s what being alive means. Our own invisible plates shifting inside of our bodies, beginning to align into the people we are going to become.”