Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Teen
Published: April 1st, 2014
Read: January 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Purchase Location: Waterstones, London
Goodreads Summary: 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. But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can't keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won't be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.
|Love Letters to the Dead is easy to read, but at the same time it makes you think about things. About death, about leaving people (behind), about suicide and about what it means to live.|
At first the letters weren't that influencial on the reader because you just thought of it as a school project. But their importance grew and you begin to notice what kind of anger Laurel has against people leaving others behind on purpose, even if they don't actually realise that's what they're doing. Her anger against suicidal people gets noticeable when she starts to admit that her sister might have chosen to 'leave' her.
I really liked how with every letter you learned interesting things about the people she addressed them too. For example you learn about Janis Joplin's childhood, a little about Kurt Cobain's daughter and so on.
This book treats the subject of suicide in a very interesting way, although it never really is being discussed. I'm very impressed what Ava Dellaira did with these letters and how she tells Laurel's story through them and at the same time addresses so many different people. The ending was more than what I could have wished for, because I feared at the beginning that something else would happen (there were a lot of hints that Laurel might be the same as her sister and could kill herself, but you actually realise that she would never do that because she isn't that 'selfish').