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{Review} Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

By 5:10 pm

Author:  Ava Dellaira
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Publishers: The Five Miles Press
Pages: 327
Genre: Coming of Age
Links: Goodreads | Buy the book

It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person - any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart... it's like she can't stop. And she'd certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it's like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time - and how her family has shattered since May died.

But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can't keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won't be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.

*I'd like to thank The Five Mile Press for sending me this for review, it does not influence my opinion.*

If Love Letters to the Dead was described in one word it would have to be emotional. I hold this novel close to my heart because it reflects the hardships of real life. I read books to take myself away from the real world but every once in a while you need a book like this where it brings you back down to earth and teaches you that life isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

Love Letters to the Dead is set in a letter format throughout the whole book and this unique style arrangement flowed really well. It made the book more personal and formed a strong connection with the protagonist. Each letter was addressed to a famous celebrity and it was fun finding small bits of information that I didn't know before. A lot of the people I had heard of before but I didn't really know anything about and it was interesting to see how each one impacted Laurel.

I respect Ava Dellaira for writing a novel that doesn't shy away from controversial topics. This novel explored drugs, alcohol, gay romance and many more topics that don't usually come up in Young Adult novels. I really wish more authors wrote about these matters because it makes me feel like adults think teenagers can't handle these pressing issues today. Can I just say...we can! These subjects are always been thrown in our face whether it's in school or in the media.

The characters were very unique in this book and each one had some quirky aspect to them. I loved Laurel as the protagonist and I think she portrayed a good teenage voice well but sometimes she came across older to me. The story followed her struggles of coping with the death of her older sister and how it effected her. Each person copes with grief differently and Laurel chose to write letters to the dead which was different (in the good way. Her character was realistic because sometimes she wasn't always as strong as she wanted to be and occasionally she spiraled out of control. To me this was a normal reaction. All the secondary characters displayed one lesson or story in one way or another and it was cool picking up these interesting messages. They each helped Laurel be her true self.

Love Letters to the Dead was an emotional read which put me through so many emotions. I really sympathised with Laurel and I felt a deep connection with her.This is a perfect 'coming of age' story and If you like a well-paced novel which covers a lot of deep topics then I highly recommend it to you. I never feel like I do a book justice with my reviews but trust me when I say you'll want to read this. (Be ready for the waterworks)


  1. Love Letters to the Dead was such an amazing contemporary, a truly awesome read! So glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. Great review!! Added to my tbr list ;)

    Miss Perfection @ A Perfection Called Books

  3. I will never get over the font on this cover! Your review has just gotten me more excited. I really need to get my hands on it!