Sunday, October 19, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira


Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Stars out of ten: ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven?

It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally 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 truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that's as lyrical and as true as a favourite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl's journey through life's challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

I wasn't expecting this book to blow me away or to have such an impact as it did on me. Dellaira really knows how to write and how to deliver the message of her story to her readers. At the beginning of this book everything is rather vague, it doesn't tell you how Laurel's sister, May died but the story keeps flitting from the past to the present, I think this was the reason that this book got nine stars instead of ten, as a reader I wanted the story to stay at a certain pace but the storyline kept slowing down as we delved back into the past, however the story wouldn't have made such an impact without it because May wouldn't have been such a strong character if Dellaira hadn't written it in this way. 

“Sometimes when we say things, we hear silence. Or only echoes. Like screaming from inside. And that’s really lonely. But that only happens when we weren’t really listening. It means we weren’t ready to listen yet. Because every time we speak, there is a voice. There is the world that answers back.

I loved the scenes that Dellaira created, like when we read about May taking Laurel out with her older friends and they play a dangerous game where they lay in the middle of the road blindfolded waiting for a car to come, once the car gets close you jump up and run off. Its basic things like this that makes a contrast between some of the sad scenes in this book and the exhilarating ones.

This book is generally very dark, and does explore some very rough topics, dealing with death, harassment and potential suicide. I didn't expect this from this book and it was a pleasant surprise, seeing as I love dark storylines. Another good thing about this book was the people that Laurel wrote to were all really interesting and all made a great impression on Laurel. People like; Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earheart and others. She explores their childhood's and why they all died young, perhaps why they impacted her life so greatfully. 
“You can be noble and brave and beautiful and still find yourself falling.” 

My favourite letter she wrote was one to Kurt Cobain. Laurel was so angry because he had committed suicide, she explains about how in his suicide note he says that he doesn't want his daughter, Frances to become how he was and how he wanted her to stay innocent, Laurel writes that by killing himself he is taking all innocence out of her life and her father killing himself will be a burden for the rest of her life. She then rips down the Kurt Cobain poster from above May's bed and cries. 

“the ghosts in the house are ours, and I just want to be with them.” 

Lets talk about Sky. Sky is the main love interest in this book, he is mysterious and inciting. There was something about Sky that made me love him just as much as Laurel did. He was a person of few words but he also seemed so thoughtful. There are few major obstacles that they have to overcome, one example of this would be how he knew May before she had died, another would be how she would never tell him what she was feeling or thinking. The development in their relationship is huge and you find yourself realising that you don't need that many scenes with Laurel and Sky to realise how much they love and care for each other unlike in some books where the relationships feel strained. 

“I know I wrote letters to people with no address on this earth, I know that you are dead. But I hear you. I hear all of you. We were here. Our lives matter.” 

This book has made it into my favourite books list. It is a book of feelings; anger, sorrow, rage, love, appreciation. 

Check out Ava Dellaira's website:)

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