It’s been six months since Laurel’s older sister died. She might look OK and sound OK and act OK, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t searching for truth and drowning in guilt. After all, May was everything—smart, beautiful, eternally happy, perpetually cool. How could Laurel not cling to every memory of her, especially when it was her fault that May was dead?
And so, like many of us, Laurel writes. She writes letters, letters to dead people. Letters to Kurt Cobain, to Amelia Earheart, to Amy Winehouse, to Elizabeth Bishop, to Judy Garland, to John Keats, to Jim Morrison. It started as an assignment from her freshman year English teacher, became a project she couldn’t bear to turn it and yet couldn’t stop herself from continuing.
This is Ava Dellaira’s incredible Love Letters to the Dead. It is a debut novel, and is so incredibly beautiful. It’s the story of a naïve girl who is searching for truth for herself, her dead sister and her troubled friends. What is so profound is her willingness to open herself to different perspectives. Laurel’s perception of the world is fluid as she continually tries to find a way of explaining why some of the greatest people the world had seen are no longer with us.
Laurel is just so…honest. Her angst is pure and is driven from confusion about the way the world is rather than a desire to simply be angry or to rebel. You might not have been through what she has—and I hope you haven’t—but you can empathize with her and her friends as they struggle with the idea of what it means to come of age, to find yourself and be yourself.
Grab a copy of your own right here and be sure to read and tell us what YOU think in the comments.
Reviewer’s note: Some books strike you as important, and this is one of those for me. It does have mature content—mentions of sex, drugs, alcohol, date rape, molestation, suicide, as well as explicit language (as the novel goes on, the F word is used). Keep that in mind when reading or recommending it to others.