(Review) Love Letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Genre:Young Adult 
My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis: 
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 in this stunning debut from Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead.

My Review: 
I remember all the hype about this book when it came out, but sometimes my TBR pile and my wallet are just like: 

Anywho, I finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago and here we are. This book was pretty different than any YA stuff I've read lately. It was similar to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower in the sense that, as you got deeper into the story, you were filled with dread over something that the narrator hadn't told you yet.

This story starts with an assignment to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel does this, and you learn that she's starting at a new school her freshman year because her older sister died and she doesn't want to be surrounded by people who knew her. At first, I thought the letters were going to be mixed in with the story but it turns out that the letters are the story.

With each letter to each dead person Laurel chooses you learn a little more about her. You watch her go down a spiral of drinking and parties until she finally hits rock bottom. At first she seems so innocent, but as Laurel's friendship with Hannah and Natalie grow she completely changes.

It doesn't take you long to realize that sometimes else, besides May's death happened to Laurel. She meets Sky, and they start dating, but their interactions often turn weird and Laurel sometimes spaces out and cries. It's obvious that there is something bigger that is haunting her.

There were a lot of times reading this when I just had to stop and take a deep breath because Laurel was being so stupid. Then I had to remember that I was reading a story about a 14/15-year-old girl who had no real supervision and had gone through something traumatic and I pushed on. Laurel's voice, despite her actions, was mature at times. She had an interesting view of the world and seemed to understand people better than they thought she could.

When everything came together and also hit the fan I was surprised at how well Laurel pushed through it. As I say every time I get the chance: character growth is my favorite thing. I loved reading the last 25% or so and seeing how Laurel brought everyone back together.

I'm glad I finally picked this one up.

Happy reading.