Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira
I haven’t written a review in forever. What kind of book blog is this? Anyway, I figured, as I’d read this recently and rather enjoyed it that I would tell you lot, so you too can read it and enjoy it. Let’s go!
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 has been around for a while and I remember when it first came out, there was a bit of a buzz among some of the blogs that I followed and certainly, my goodreads feed seemed to be full of it for a while (are you on goodreads? Let’s be friends!) like most things that I see and think I want to read, I ended up waaaaaaay late to the party. But then again, it doesn’t matter how you get somewhere, just that you do, right?
So first things first, if you head over to goodreads (not that I’m pressuring you to be my friend on there or anything) you might notice that the reviews for this are a bit divisive. Some love it, some hate it, some are a bit meh about it. Honestly, I enjoyed this book, I thought it was great, I loved the layout and the concept, but I can see what others mean when they say it isn’t as intense or emotional as it should be. I found the narration to be almost musical, but it could also be a little immature and melodramatic at times. Then again, this is a book told by a teenager, for teenagers and I am in my late twenties… So…
When I first saw this, I didn’t bother with the blurb, I just knew I had to read it because everyone had said how beautiful it was and that was no word of a lie. This is beautiful, it is a slow simmer of a story that gets under your skin and keeps you wanting to know more. There is just something very special about books written in an unconventional format. While this is the story of Laurel, a teenage girl navigating her way through a new school while her family splinters around her and mourning the death of her older sister, whom she worshipped, Laurel isn’t telling you her story, she is telling deceased celebrities, all of whom, like her sister, died young, and all of whom, like Laurel, have somewhat tragic backstories. They are an interesting bunch of people she chooses to write to, all of them hugely talented and praised in their chosen fields. We don’t just get singers like Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, we also get pioneers like Amelia Earhart, unraveling Laurel’s story and seeing how she identifies and connects with these famous people is mostly kind of heartbreaking and a little bit wonderful, but can be a bit… Well… Hipsterish as well. There was one ocassion when I was a bit like “Oh you’re a teenager and you like the Doors. Wow, let me get you a medal you special snowflake. ” But then I remembered that I was a teenager who liked The Doors too and I should maybe get off tumblr for a bit.
What I am trying to say is that at its core, this is an emotional book told in an interesting way that not only held my attention, but kind of buried its way into my head. Basically I really liked it. I think some of you might like it, God, you can tell I’m out of practise with this right?
Before I go and ruin what would have been a perfectly good book review, let me just lay a few trigger warnings out for you because honestly, I would hate to recommend you a book if it then triggered something hugely traumatic and I find a lot of reviews don’t mention things that could be harmful to some people. This book does feature sexual abuse, death of a family member and other domestic issues. So, like, read it if you’re not negatively affected by these things. That’s it, Leah out.