Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Laurel is high school student and one day they get an assignment to write a letter to a dead person. However, she never wrote it for a school work, but she started writing letters in her diary. She’s writing them to famous people who died too soon, just like her sister May.
In her letters, she describes her life in new high school, new friends, first love and her sister May, which she can’t forgive for leaving her. Through letters she learns a lot about herself and in particular, she can write about secrets from her past that she never told anyone and strongly affected her. Just like her older sister May, who Laurel misses so much and don’t understand why she’s gone and left behind only pain of mourning and broken family.
Meh. I have mixed feelings about this book. The first half was completely boring and I was thinking about quitting. What disturbed me most, was writing style which is completely childish and immature. There were moments when I thought that letters were written by an eleven-year-old girl and not a high school student. The sentences are so simple and idiotic but they are good reflection of Laurel character – she’s a childish, dumb and terribly boring person who’s main goal in life is (obviously) to be a cool person.
It all begins with new school year when Laurel starts attempting high school. She picked one, where nobody knows her and a family tragedy. Because she’s a new kid, nobody notices her but she desperately wants to fit in. And she’s doing this in a very strange way if you ask me. For example, all students are buying some specific cookies for lunch and she starts throwing away her lunch so she can also buy them. For some reason, she’s accepted by two girls who are not popular kids but they’re cool. And she also falls in love in such a boy – Sky is a mysterious kid, who’s not popular but everyone thinks about him as a cool guy (and I’m not joking here – as long as you’re cool everything will be ok, obviously). And for some reason, he noticed her right away although she’s far from being cool. And then begins the story about plain Jane discovering the joys of high school life, from drinking, smoking and making out. Doing everything, just to be cool.
But her dead sister’s shadow is following her everywhere. Laurel’s older sister May had varied life, she was beautiful, popular, smart and, above all, she was cool. Recently, I read quite a few books, which, in my opinion, exposes excessive idealization of older siblings or best friends which make me very annoyed. Ok, I agree that it’s not unusual that younger siblings are idolizing older because, after all, it’s logical they’re searching for a role model, but exaggeration is bothering me. And it bothered me strongly in this book also. It felt like Laurel doesn’t have her own life or personality. She always tried to be just like May and she’s still doing this after her death. And instead of figuring out who she is, she’s trying to be someone else. All the time she’s writing about May and how beautiful/perfect she was but yet I didn’t have a feeling that she’s mourning her death. I felt like she just wants to be like May was and grieves for someone who enabled her to do cool stuff. Which is a shame because I thought this would be a book about mourning and accepting someone’s death.
But at the same time, Laurel was angry when they compared her with May. When she finds out that Sky liked May, she’s angry with him, because she thinks she’s in love with her just because she’s so similar to May. Seriously?!? She’s constantly trying to be just like her, she wears her clothes, listening to same music as May, but suddenly she doesn’t like being compared to her? She was also furious when she found out, her new friends knew from beginning, she’s a sister of a dead girl. She didn’t want to tell them because she was afraid they would treat her differently but at the end, she got mad because they knew and treated her normally. It’s difficult if you don’t know what you want. And Laurel definitely doesn’t know what she wants, which indicates her immature character and writing style. At times, however, she begins to philosophize in letters which made me confused because it was really not her style – like she would suddenly become a mature, grown up women.
The second half of the book was better since things started to complicate and reading becomes more interesting. Besides notes about everyday life, Laurel starts to uncovering dark secrets from her past and starts writing about them.
Nevertheless, this book was not so good that I would recommend it on. Perhaps younger girls could relate more with Laurel and her “writing” but I really couldn’t enjoy in this book.
Rating: 2/5 stars
Did you read this book? What did you think about it? Do you agree with me or you think this book was good/amazing? I would love to hear your thoughts about it!