Love Letters to the Dead

By Ava Dellaria

4 out of 5 stars

One of Laurel’s first assignments in her English class for her first year of high school is to write a letter to someone who is deceased. Laurel writes a letter to Kurt Cobain because he was her sister’s favorite singer and her sister May passed away. But Laurel doesn’t just stop at writing to Kurt Cobain, she writes to Judy Garland, Elizabeth Bishop, Amelia Earhart, River Phoenix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Allan Lane (the voice of Mr. Ed), ee cummings and John Keats. With each letter, a different side of Laurel comes out and a lot of secrets are revealed. Laurel’s mother moved to California after May’s death and Laurel splits her time between living with her dad and her Aunt Amy.

Laurel’s letters become a kind of therapy for her and each letter really embodies who she is writing to and how they parallel her own life. She becomes friend with Natalie and Hannah. Her relationship with them opens her up and them as well. She also falls for a boy named Sky. Sky seems to see the real Laurel.

This is really a lovely book. Your heart breaks for Laurel, especially when her deepest secrets are revealed. You just hope that the letter writing brings her the healing that she really deserves. It’s so sad how everyone blames themselves for the actions of others and that’s hard to let go but Ava Dellaira has found a wonderful way for Laurel to open up. It’s very original and had me in tears by the end.

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