Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
High school freshman Laurel begins the story of her life since her older sister died as an English assignment. Write letter to a dead person. “She probably meant for us to write to someone like a former president or something, but I need someone I can talk to. I couldn’t talk to a president. I can talk to you.” She writes her first letter to Kurt Cobain because he May had always loved him. He and the rest of the people Laurel writes letters to died young, just like her sister. She writes about starting high school, not the high school May went to, but the one near her Aunt Amy’s house where she lives part time. When May died, their mom moved to a ranch in California because she was just too sad. But, Laurel wonders, what about me? Why can’t she stay and take care of me? Readers learn about Laurel’s life through the letters she writes in her journal–from her new friendships, to the mystery Hottie named Sky, to the truth about what happened to her sister. Although Laurel introduces her sister to readers as the most beautiful and perfect person, as the book progresses we learn along with Laurel that all human beings are flawed, even those we love the most.
I really liked this book, although want to warn readers that it is really sad. I found myself spending more time reading just to finish it, so I could move on to something a little less depressing. Debut author Ava Dellaira does a great job bringing the lives of emotional fragile teens to life, and I’m looking forward to her other books. I would recommend this to students who like true life stories, Ellen Hopkins’ books and stories about troubled families.
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