Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria

Author: Ava Dellaria
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Publishing Date: April 1st 2014
Blurb Description: 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

My Rating:

My Review:

A huge Thanks to the Publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review:

Everything is still just the way she left it- from the dried flower she had on herself when she floated away to Prom to the Nirvana poster by her bed, a reminder of all the music that took her to another place, to all the shiny daring clothes in her closet- as if she never left at all. As if she never fell while she was trying to fly. As if, that all that is left of her are not only the memories she shined in, like the star she has become. 

Laurel had, quite literally, the perfect life- filled with the biggest dreams, the most unimaginable and yet wonderful fairy tales that would make you want to believe in the magic all around us, and the best older sister anyone could ask for- well, it was… Until her parents got divorced and her sister died and her mom just left, unable to cope and suddenly, all Laurel is left with are the memories of laughter and love and fairies in a now silent house, haunted by what it used to be; the happiness it used to hold. 

It began as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain, because May (her sister) loved him, and because he isn’t a part of the world we know, just like May. And soon, Laurel finds herself scribbling down her whole life in the midst of a few pages- all to people who left their mark, but disappeared just like her sister- Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger and more- hoping that even though there is no way these can reach them, they’ll, somehow, be able to understand.

As she writes her way through the pain and abandonment and the hurt, Laurel starts to accept that her sister’s life wasn’t as glamorous as she thought, and starts to learn who she really is as person- not just a shadow of her sister. For only when she comes to terms as to what really happened that night, and with the abuse she suffered while just trying to get to be a part of her sisters’ world, can she truly find out how to move forward from the dark place she has been living in! 

This book is amazing, that so realistically deals with being a teenager in today’s world, death, love, being different but just being you. There are so many well defined themes going on, that circle around while Laurel struggles to learn what it is to be alive while the other half of you vanished; how to trust and how to smile and how to love again.

It kept me hooked, till the very end, until Laurel narrates what really happened on the day when her world flipped on its axis and although it was heartbreaking and just plain sad, I couldn’t help but feel that she was too dependent on her sister- that her view of their relationship was a bit too dysfunctional- and that her sister should have cared more; been more.

All in all, a riveting read that I would definitely recommend!

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