Love Letters To The Dead
by Ava Dellaira
Published: 1st May 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Sometimes the best letters go unanswered.
It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died youg, and so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand what Laurel is going through.
Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people – Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse… It’s like she can’t stop. She writes about her new high school, her new friends, her first love – and her shattered life.
But the ghosts of Laurel’s past can’t be contained between the lines of a page forever. She must face up to them – before they consume her.
Like many of my book purchases, I found about this book through various Booktube and Book Bloggers hauls. They said they’d chosen to read this book because it is comparable to The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, which I reviewed here. I looked up the blurb, and I thought the concept was fascinating, so I bought it and picked it up to read pretty quickly after it arrived.
Now, I can see the comparisons to Stephen Chbosky’s novel through the author’s use of letters to deliver the narrative. In that respect this novel is comparable, and also that the main character, Laurel, uses these letters to try and deal with the loss of her sister. Just as the protagonist in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower wrote letters to deal with the things going on in his life. For me, that’s where the comparisons ended.
I had a few problems with this novel, which prevented me from loving this book as much as I thought I would have. Firstly, the author’s voice for the character was inconsistent, one moment, Laurel sounds like the 14 year old girl that she is, and others she sounds far too mature, and in a way that loses the characters authenticity. One moment it sounds like the types of mumblings I would have written in my diaries growing up, and the next it jumps to these beautifully written descriptions of characters, and philosophical notions that didn’t fit with the character.
I also have trouble understanding why the author used so many different recipients of the letters. For me, I would have preferred them to be written to just one person. They also sound more like diary entries for the majority, and the connections to the recipients were hazy.
Regardless of those things, I did overall like the plot. The character shows a good amount of development, and I’m happy with how it ended, despite it being an obvious ending. I thought the pace was okay, I didn’t feel the need to read for this book a lot to find out what happened, which is why it took me so long to finish reading it. One thing I did appreciate in this was that the romance involved felt realistic to the age of the characters, and it reflects just how hard and quickly they can fall in love, but also how fragile and temporary they could be.
Overall, I’m sad to say I was disappointed with this book. I think I held my expectations too high for it. Also, I really enjoyed reading, Sam from The Book Corner, a fellow book blogger’s review of this book, which you can find here, and I think we both felt the same way about this book.
I can’t say I’d recommend this book from my experience, but I think the concept was interesting and if you like the sound of it, give it a try.
If you’d like to grab yourself a copy: Amazon link