Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

18140047Title: Love Letters to the Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira

Genre: YA Contemporary

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

Love Letters to the Dead is one of the most important books I’ve read in my entire life. It’s important because the message it conveys, is of the utmost important. The story tells us about Laurel, the main character, who moved schools after her sister, May, passed away. After May’s death, Laurel’s entire life has crumbled apart. She tries to become like May, tries to make her sister come to life again by becoming her. She tries to understand her sister and the mistakes she made, the choices she picked, and why. But the more Laurel begins to behave like May, the more she loses herself.

Her English teacher gives her an assignment – to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel starts writing to Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and more. She picked those artists because her sisters loved them, or because they had something in common with her sister. As Laurel writes more and more letters, in which she talks about her new life, her new friends, how she copes with her sister’s passing, about her Mom who lives halfway across the state now, and about her Dad who tries so hard to cope, I started to feel a real connection to her, and my heart broke for Laurel. But despite it all, she keeps on going strong, and tries to deal with the past the only way she knows how.

The book is beautifully written. It brought me to tears more than once. The characters are amazing, and even May, although deceased, feels like a real character. The book feels very real, as if Laurel and her friends – who each have their own share of troubles – could just walk into the room and start chatting.

A great, inspiring read. Keep the tissues ready though.


  1. This sounds like an amazing read! I really love books that make me cry!!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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