Monday, March 10, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Publication Date:  April 1, 2014
Date Read:  November 17, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book at no cost from the publisher for review purposes.

5 Stars!

I just loved this book. Even though I was a teenager half my life ago, this book is one of the reasons I still choose to read YA novels. There are no silly sparkly vampires seen here. There is really nothing sparkly seen here at all. This book is real. This book makes the reader feel.

Laurel is just entering a high school at a new school. She is given an assignment in her English class of writing a letter to a person who is dead. While Laurel never turns in her assignment, she spends that year writing letters to famous dead people as a way of journaling her very troubled life. Through the letters, the reader learns everything that troubles Laurel but we learn them piece by piece. The biggest piece is the loss of her older sister and the subsequent effect on her family. Many pieces of the story do not come until the end of the book when Laurel is ready to deal with them. We watch her deal with pain and grief in stages as she is ready.

The letters are address to people that I know well since I am older than the intended audience. I do wonder if the average teen reader will know who Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, River Phoenix and Janis Joplin are and whether than will have any effect on their enjoyment of the book. This book will probably be best for an older teen as drinking, drugs, and sex (plus other sensitive topics) are part of the story.

We do see Laurel grow and deal with everything that has happened in her life. I have hope for her future. This is a story of a girl having the strength to overcome what life has thrown at her.

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