Love Letters to the Dead

April 3, 2014 ARC, Book Review 1

I received this for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Published by Macmillan on 2014-04-01
Pages: 336

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more -- though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to 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 begin to discover her own path.

My Thoughts:

Wow. This book. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my thing but then I saw that it was blurbed by authors I enjoy. Like, multiple authors I enjoy… Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Stephen Chbosky, Gayle Forman, and Lauren Myracle. As if that wasn’t enough, Love Letters to the Dead is one of the books on the Fierce Reads tours. Clearly I had to read it! I am so glad I did.

I read this book in one sitting but I kind of wish I hadn’t! It’s a really intense and I wish I would have taken more time to think about and process what I was reading, Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But as I flipped through the book to write this review I was finding things I feel like I missed. Maybe that’s the nature of this story… different things will hit you at different times. Still, when I re-read this one I’ll take more time to savor it.

Watching Laurel piece together the events that led to her sister May’s death (and the changes in her life since) was a beautiful and heartbreaking reading experience. May was such a huge influence in Laurel’s life… and she continues to be one after death. Laurel is confused and grieving and not really sure how to deal with the secrets she keeps. Seeing her story unfold through the letters she writes was such an intriguing way to get the story. This is a format that doesn’t always work. Not only does Ava Dellaira pull it off, she does so with grace. It’s flawless.

Love Letters to the Dead is sure to find a fan base among readers looking for an intensely emotional reading experience. I can already think of the students I want to give it to.

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