Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
April 1, 2014
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.
In the beginning, I have to admit, I was annoyed. Annoyed that I didn’t see it coming. Annoyed that I could smell the teenage desperation. Annoyed that the characters felt 2-D. Annoyed that this book felt so much like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. A book that so many people adore but I seem to absolutely hate. What kept me reading this book if I obviously wanted to never see it again? The writing. It was so freaking lyrical and the emotions that were conveyed through it broke my hopeless romantic heart and shattered my soul.
So that was the good: the writing. What was bad? The main character. She felt weak. She was a follower and really couldn’t think for herself. She’s depressed, that much is obvious. She’s drowning is despair and is quickly following down the path her sister took.
Sky also confused me. I mean I agree with the whole ‘we need to save ourselves’ persona that everyone in this book seemed to take on, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help.
Her path to saving herself started with an English assignment. Write a letter to a dead person. This quickly turned into a way to escape everything. It was a way for her to spill her heart and broken soul to people who had no choice but to listen, to stay silent and to not judge. In total, our main girl was afraid to find her voice, so she did the easiest thing that there was to do: take the one her sister had abandoned. Hell, everyone in this books was afraid to find their voice.
Overall, this book was bitter-sweet and secret- filled. And I liked it way more than I thought I would in the beginning. It was surprising and sweet. The romance wasn’t over powering and the writing to dead people was kind of lovely.
In total, sometimes, you have to find yourself to heal. Sometimes, you have to lose someone to find yourself.
“His eyes were like your voice-keys to a place in me that could burst open.” (ARC 27%)
“When we are in love, we are both completely in danger and completely saved.” (ARC 47%)
Yes, I’m one of those people. The people who don’t like Perks of Being a Wallflower. *shocker* I mean for how much I adore contemporary you’d think I’d like it more. What can I say? Any other non- Lovers with me? Have any of y’all read Love Letters? Did y’all think it was Perks reminiscent?