Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Book: Love Letters to the Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira

Pages: 327 

I Read it on: My iPad

I Read it in: 6 hours

Plot Summary: 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.

What I Liked: Let's bullet-point this, shall we? 

  • I loved reading the letters per se. Each of the letters written to a dead person had a bit of that person's life and the circumstances of their death. While I knew about most of them- their lives, their work and their death- I enjoyed reading about the ones I didn't know much about. So, I learnt something new. Always a good thing when it comes to a book. 
  • I liked how the story was set up. Laurel is about to start High School and she has just lost the person she was closest to in her dysfunctional family. The angst and the pangs of missing her sister and the assignment of writing letters to the dead flowed seamlessly. It did not seem like a force fit at all. 
  • I liked Laurel's friends- Hannah, Natalie, Kristen and Tristan- they all had well-etched personas and all had their little and big battles to fight. 
  • I also liked Laurel's love story. It was sweet and poignant, but mostly sweet. 
  • I liked how the various issues faced by multiple characters in the book were resolved. 
What I Didn't Like: 
  • Laurel got a bit whiny sometimes, but she can be forgiven for that; she was going through a rather rough spot in her life. 
  • I wish there were more people that the letters were written to. There were far too many letters written to River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain. I would have liked some variety.
Would You Like It?: Yes. If you enjoy YA and well-written books, then you will enjoy this. It is slightly melancholic but eventually uplifting. 

Rating: 4/5 

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