Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

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. 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.

In a voice that's as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl's journey through life's challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.
This was such a beautiful book. I actually started to read it over a year ago, but stopped because I saw the direction it was heading in and I wasn’t able to read any intensely emotional YA for a while. Mostly, I was dealing with my own emotions. I am so glad I saved this one for when I did. I read it at the right time. And frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it.
The main character literally writes letters to famous dead people. Her sad, unique, creative, and captivating story is told through the letters she writes. This isn’t something I’m used to seeing. And I loved every aspect of it. What teenager doesn’t give thought, time, and love into celebrities, bands, and pop culture? And more than that, who doesn’t learn about the music, books, poems, movies, and roll models that change our lives in high school? Dellaira accomplishes a lot in this book, but this part of growing up, this renaissance of fandoms is so special.  There is just something so beautiful about watching this main character listen to Janis Joplin for the first time.
It’s also a tough story, and the longer you read it, the more you know something bad happened. Laurel doesn’t come out with the details of it until the end. And I thought this was written well. It kept me guessing and needing to know more.
I think what really stands out too, is just how real it all felt. This wasn’t sugar-coated high school. This was the high school where date rape drugs are passed out at parties and homosexuality is looked down upon. There’s abused teens, heart ache, molested teens, grief, alcohol, and depression. But, there’s also perfect car rides, poetry, sleepovers, first love, discovering good music, parties, and amazing friendships.
All in all, I can’t really think of anything negative to say. I loved this book from page one. It’s not a fluffy contemporary by any stretch of the imagination, so you might want to wait to read it at the right time, like I did. I definitely recommend it to fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver, Amy Zhang, and Jennifer Niven. I give it a 10/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment