Author: Alla Dellaira
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Publication Date: April 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Laurel’s English assignment is to write letters to a dead person. But once she starts, she can’t stop. She spills her soul, her secrets. She writes what she can’t say. And slowly, the story unfolds about her sister May, and the fateful night she died.
I am surprised by how much this book sucked me in and kept me reading. I’m not a fan of stories told in letters/emails, etc. But this one takes the reader’s hands and gently pulls them in. I love how each celebrity was researched, Laurel writing about the past experiences that celebrity had or experienced. I especially love the Amelia Earhart letters that show bravery and hopefulness as opposed to the Kurt letters which are darker and more sad.
We find Laurel slowly opening up through these letters, reliving the current day’s events but also the last few weeks up until her dear older sister, May, died. Heartbreaking and sad, the plot balances past and present expertly and although Laurel confesses about how she may have played a role in her sister’s death, and how broken she was before and after, there is still a sliver of hope.
The friends she makes are fun and complex, exposing Laurel to be a very rich character. The boy she likes, Sky, both fills her with love and breaks her heart. I love how the book deals with balances, both within herself and her surroundings. May balancing on the edge. Laurel balancing between who she is, who she wants to be. Before and After.
I really liked Laurel’s friends. They were all interesting and sweet and sad. I had a firm grasp on each of them. I enjoyed Sky’s relationship with Laurel and how bittersweet it seemed.
On a side note, let’s talk about the cover. Gorgeous. I love the color of the darkening, or brightening depending on how you look at it, sky. I love the side view of the girl writing. Most of all I love the large font of the title. It reminds me of handwritten, scary movie font. The lines are thin, the strokes wavy like they may crack.
Overall, Love Letters to the Dead is a wonderful book about loss and sisters and the lies we tell ourselves. And while it didn’t make me cry, it made me think and continued to even days after I finished.
Rating 9 Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream