“You can be noble and brave and beautiful and still find yourself falling.” - Ava Dellaira
Rating : 4/5
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira is emotionally manipulative, depressingly optimistic and makes my nose sniffle snot.
I can see why they are people who love this book, and why they are people who hate it. What it boils down to is how far you would accept the writing style and how passive and inactive the main character is. If you are able to accept that, then you will be fine with this book.
Love Letters to the Dead revolves around Laurel, a regular girl coping with her sister's death, whom she idolized, while navigating through high school and finding first love. She writes it all to the dead celebrities from Judy Garland to River Pheonix. In short, it's a typical YA novel.
The writing style is a Poor Man's Perks of Being a Wallflower without the complexity and substance. It tries to be at times and fails most times. However, it's used effectively in some parts to portray the indifference of Laurel during some absolutely depressing parts. How those scenes are portrayed and how she reacts to it just makes it all the more heartbreaking.
Speaking of Laurel, she is a shell. She has no personality other than worshiping her dead sister, May and falling in love with Sky. Her life revolves around those two people and it's only played as destructive for just one. Yikes. That isn't to say I didn't pity her though. I wanted to wrap my arms around her, let her cry while stroking her hair. Then I slap her for being so stupid and childish.
While Laurel is not interesting, her friends are. I'm surprised how more three-dimensional they were. They had problems underneath cool exteriors, and I enjoyed reading them. They were great and I wished it focused more on Laurel overcoming May's death with friends. Than with a stupid Wannabe-Bad-Boy-But-Not-Because-He's-Actually-Really-Sweet Mr. Mystery.
The romance was an atypical teen romance but as the story developed, you realized how wrong they were for each other. Sky even realized that but Laurel didn't care. She needed to find someone else to cling on.
In all, I did enjoy the book even with its flaws particularly with Laurel and the writing. It explored the theme of letting go and innocence well. Yes, it's cliche and predictive, full of ham & cheese but it'll tug on your heart strings if you let it. This is a young adult book for the young, young. Don't expect this book to be perfect, it's far from it. But you will enjoy it.
So have you read the book? Or are you planning to anytime soon? I'd love to know!