Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria
Source: Library
Publisher: FSG

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.

Love Letters to the Dead is one of the most quotable books I have read in a very, very long time. There are so few YA books out there that I feel have truly quotable, lyrical lines, that this one caught my attention right away. If my copy hadn't been a library book I would have defiantly been marking the lines and pages all over the place.

The characters in this story were at once both wonderful and loveable, and at times stressful to read about, and I loved how no one in this story was perfect, and no one pretended to be. The main character, Laurel, is given a very quiet, out of place sort of personality, and I feel like a lot of teens and other young readers may be able to relate with her character at some point in their life when they are out of place, and her friends Natalie and Hannah are both wonderful friends to her, but very difficult to stand at points, which is how friendships are.

I have heard a lot of people compare this book to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I agree that the two books are extremely similar. Both of the main characters in the story are starting High School without friends, and eventually end up befriending a group of misfits. Both stories have similar themes and topics throughout the stories, and both are told in letters. With the two books being so similar it was a bit odd to see how close the stories were to one another, but at the same time I wasn't turned off by the similarities, it's almost as if I was given the chance to relive the story of Perks once again in a new story, and I loved that.

5/5 stars

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