Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

ImageMy Rating: 4 stars

Date Read: May 10, 2014

Published: April 1st 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genres: Young adult, contemporary

Summary: Laurel’s sister is dead. She is going to a new high school, where one of her first assignments is to write a letter to a dead person. She writes to Kurt Cobain, but never turns it in. She does, however, keep writing to others who have passed away. This is her way of coping, of writing out her life as she moves on from May’s death and really accepts what happened.

Review: This started out slow for me. Actually, I think it stayed slow. The plot wasn’t very eventful, and a lot of the letters consisted more of Laurel’s memories and thoughts, than what was currently happening. Further into the story, I was okay with this.

I think my favorite thing about this book is the character flaws. Laurel wants to believe May was perfect, but it’s clear that she was so far from it. She was struggling. Her mom left for an entire year after May died, and her dad seemed quite disconnected at times. Despite this, none of them were made out to be bad people. I think a great part of this book is that the characters gave up, or walked away when they shouldn’t have, or unintentionally hurt the ones they loved – but that’s how people are. It’s what they do, and it doesn’t make them horrible.

I also enjoyed the character growth. Laurel was so scared at the beginning, timid and trying to be like May. At the end of the story she’s so much stronger and more sure of herself. She grew up and it was wonderful to read. A side character that I especially loved for this was Hannah – she was so brave and strong. I can just imagine what a difficult past she had, losing her parents and dealing with her brother. But through the story, she really learned to accept love. She learned to be herself and overcome her fears.

If it hasn’t already been made obvious, I really love this book. It’s truly beautiful and I fell in love with the characters and the writing. I highlighted a lot of quotes as I was reading.

Recommending it is tricky, though. I feel like some people won’t enjoy the slow storyline. If you’re a patient reader and enjoy stories that are about character development, rather than action, I think this one is for you.

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