Love Letters to the Dead is the first novel by American author Ava Dellaria, published in 2014. This YA novel is told through a series of letters written to dead people by a 15-year-old girl named Laurel who is grieving the recent mysterious death of her sister May.
About The Author
Ava Dellaria was born in California and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and also graduated from Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She currently lives in Santa Monica.
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 young, 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 Pheonix, 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.
Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this mature, coming-of-age, epistolary novel follows the point of view of its main antagonist Laurel. The story begins with Laurel as she starts writing letters to famous dead celebrities as part of an assignment for English but she continues to write them until it seems like she cannot stop.
I honestly found this book such an easy read and it literally took me two sittings to read this as I could not stop! I think the main reason as to why I found it such an enjoyable quick read was because of the unique structure of the book. Rather than being split into chapters, the book was split into letters and each letter told us a little bit more about Laurel and her life. I felt that this made it only more immersive as it made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next. It may take a while for some readers to get immersed if the framing device of the letters doesn’t grab you, but please stick with it as I promise you you will not regret it.
As expected from a novel about Grief, there are some heavy themes including: death, suicide, abuse, sex and sexuality, and identity issues. I felt this book looked at these themes and how people deal with grief in an extraordinary way. Having personally felt grief through the loss of a loved one I felt Dellaria carefully explored the emotions, feelings and thoughts that come along with grief and affect one physically and mentally. Through Laurel’s character it clearly showed how deeply it affects everyone around us.
I can honestly and truly say I have no negatives for this book as it is absolutely outstanding. If you can handle tear-jerking books I highly recommend you read this book.
Seriously. Just. Read. It.
for an absolutely outstanding and unique story I give this book 5/5 stars
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