Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Pages: 327

Received: Amazon

Star Rating: ★ ★ ★  

                 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 Thoughts:

I delayed my review for this book because I had to decide how to rate it. There were parts where I could just turn a few pages because of curiosity. Then there were those parts that I could not open my eyes because of boredom. The amount of teen angst in this novel was unbearable. I do appreciate the concept of writing letters to dead people, but the outcome was disappointing. 

Laurel is a student in high school. She has recently suffered the mysterious death of, her sister, May, which Laurel only knows what happened. While she still grieves, she has been given an English assignment. Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel writes letters to famous dead celebrities about her life, before and after May's death. Along the way in her new school, she finds new friendships and a first love. The only thing I kept reading this novel was for how and why May died. But I discovered there was abuse involved and that left me in aw.

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. The only thing I did like about this book was the concept. The execution was a let down. The relationships were quite the angst. I loved that it had a little LGBTQ, but I didn't like the way they were written. I feel like Laurel was in the "teenage rebellion" stage, which quite annoyed me. Lots of the flashbacks with May didn't connect to me, to say the least. Now I feel like I'm trashing the novel, but I have to pin point the reason I gave it three stars instead of two. Other than the concept of the story, I liked the transition of Laurel seeing May's flaws. May was not a great role model for her sister. I really wanted to see Laurel stop trying to be like May, but to become her own person individually. 

While reading LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD, don't go into it expecting much. I'm almost positive many other readers will connect to this, but that was my problem with the novel. I could not connect or relate to any of the characters. The cover may be gorgeous, but the inside was a displeasure. 


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