Book Review : Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Edition : Paperback (327 pages)
Publisher : Hot Key Books (May 2014)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Source :
Date Read : May 2015
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It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person – any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died young, and so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people – Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart… it’s like she can’t stop. And she’d certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it’s like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time – and how her family has shattered since May died.

My Thoughts

Me and my reading buddies (Joyce, Leigh and KL) chose this book for our May read-along.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book but I know that it’s not a light read because the title contains the word „dead“. I had no idea about how this book was written until I read the first line, which is „Dear Kurt Cobain“. I got excited and thought that I would love this book.

A simple assignment gave Laurel a chance to express all the emotions she’s been carrying and hiding before and after the day her sister died. We get to know her fears, experiences, struggles and grief. I sometimes had a hard time understanding her actions but I thought that it’s normal especially with her age and with all the things she’d been through. While reading her letters, we also learn the stories of the celebrities she’s writing to. Despite of their popularity, they’re also like us. They’re not perfect and they had painful experiences too.

I love the idea of writing letters to someone who is dead. I personally want to write a letter to Anne Frank right after reading „The Diary of a Young Girl“. While I’m reading Laurel’s letters, I felt like I’m the one who wrote them. Just like her, I also have the same questions to Kurt, Amelia and Janis. (I sometimes imagine how it feels like watching Nirvana performing live.)

There are some revelations in the story and although they are quite predictable, it didn’t matter to me that much because I liked the development of each and every characters throughout the story. I liked how family and friendship play an important role in this book. The writing style is simple yet captivating. I totally enjoyed reading this book and I highlighted quite a lot of quotes I loved.

„Maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to just be a character, going whichever way the story says.  It’s knowing that you could be the author instead.“

I thought that this book is somehow similar to „The Perks of Being a Wallflower“, just in a female POV, and now I know why. Because I don’t read even the book descriptions, I didn’t know that Ava Dellaira is Stephen Chbosky’s protege. I just knew it after reading the Acknowledgement. So if you are a fan of Chbosky, you will definitely love this book.

This book is touching and powerful. It reminds us that there are things or events that we can no longer change and we have to accept that. We have to move on and continue living our lives and appreciate the things and people that we have right now.

*Heads-up! They are working on the movie adaptation of this book. Ugh.

My Rating

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