Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

 It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person – any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died young. And so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people. Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart …it’s like she can’t stop.
And she’d certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it’s like going to a new high school. Meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time – and how her family has shattered since May died. But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can’t keep real life out forever.
The ghosts of her past won’t be contained between the lines of a page. She will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister. And the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.
Following a school assignment Laurel finds she finally has an outlet for her thoughts and emotions.
Through a series of letters to the dead, we follow a year in the life of Laurel. A year where she is dealing with secrets and grief,
I’ve found this review difficult to write. I don’t tend to like reviews that mention other books, my quandary is that I’m left thinking about The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Whilst Love Letters to the Dead is comparable to The Perks of Being a Wallflower… the story isn’t any less empathetic and thought provoking in it’s telling.
The letters are at times both cryptic and gripping, as Laurel shares with us her thoughts and emotions. Through the letters we discover her journey of self discovery, grief for her sister and resolution to make friends.
What I loved most about the letters, was how Laurel chose people based on what she had discoveredp about them and their background.
It really intrigued me learning about the way in which Laurel related to them in life and in some cases in death.
Not all of the letters Laurel writes are sad. Throughout the story she’s blessed to meet some wonderful friends in the form of Hannah, Natalie, Tristan, Kristen and Sky. All of whom bring their own stories and experiences for Laurel to share.
A thought provoking debut, that is both haunting and beautiful in it’s telling!

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