Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead
By: Ava Dellaira
Pub. Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Pages: 323
Source: Netgalley

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.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

Love Letters to the Dead has the most interesting concept in YA that I have ever heard. It's about a girl named Laurel that starts writing letters to many different dead celebrities, including Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger and River Phoenix. They were all people who died before their time, just like her sister. Through writing these letters, Laurel is dealing with her sisters death and everything that goes with that. Her voice was very real and relatable, and it was very easy to connect with her. While I enjoyed the characters, I wasn't the biggest fan of the story after a while.

The first 75 pages or so I was completely hooked. But then I started to get really bored. It all seemed really repetitive. I can't really put my finger on it, but I know that I wanted more. More what, I am not sure, but just more.

I did enjoy learning about Laurel's dad, Aunt, and mother. I could not stand her mom, and I felt so bad for Laurel because of it. Laurel was so young, and she has had to deal with so many things. Reading her story was heartbreaking. She did have a wonderful support system in the form of her friends, and I was happy that there was light in her life too.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of Love Letters to the Dead, I have heard many others raving about how amazing this book is, so I would still recommend it!

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