Monday, 12 May 2014

REVIEW: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Author: Ava Dellaira
Published by: Hot Key Books on 1st May 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming-of-Age, Romance
Pages: 327
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Links: Amazon, GoodReads
Gold Wreath
(Deserves millions of crowns)

Image from GoodReads
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.

As soon as I heard about Love Letters to the Dead I knew I wanted to read it. I rushed over to a bookshop and bought a copy. You couldn't imagine how excited I was! (I was lucky the Young Adult section was near to empty in Foyles that day.) I've heard so many great things about this book that I couldn't wait to read it and once it was home, it went straight to the top of my TBR pile. Almost like I was already attached to the book!

Love Letters to the Dead is about a teenage girl named Laurel, who had recently lost her older sister May due to a tragic accident. Laurel’s family is shattered after May’s death and so Laurel is left to live with her Father and Aunt Amy while her mother moves away, unable to live in the very place that reminded her of May’s absence. So Laurel then decides to attend a different high school to avoid sympathy from her friends and peers. She is given an assignment in English to write a letter to someone who is dead and it is through this assignment that Laurel begins to unravel her story.

I knew from the moment I turned the first page that this book would be one of my favourites. What I didn't expect was the amount of emotional turmoil it would make me endure along the way. Ava Dellaira had written in such a powerful approach that it tugged at my heart strings. Dellaira had written in a format where Laurel would start a new chapter with writing to a different celebrity that had died a tragic death. People like Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, E.E Cummings and more, though she seemed to have had a stronger attachment to Kurt Cobain mostly because of May and I could understand. The way Kurt Cobain’s death had left an impact on the world was similar to how Laurel was affected by May’s death. She felt angry, hurt, alone and continuously questioning whether they had ever considered how bad it would affect the people who loved them if they were gone. She felt as if May had left her alone intentionally. I loved this idea because anyone could relate to this. It tells us that even the people we hardly know or see everyday can really have an impact on our lives. Every life is important even if you yourself don’t believe it and that suicide is never the answer.  Every emotion Laurel went through, I felt it too. The torment she went through as she tries to deal with May’s death was heart-breaking and I wished at times I could reach into her world and give her a big hug. This book took my emotions to another level that at one point I was almost in tears!

Laurel has been through so much and we discover more as we read along. She grows as the story continues as she meets new friends and deals with her broken family whilst trying to keep her school and love life stable. I really adored her crush, Sky, and how he was so mysterious added more awesome-ness to the story! There were also her two friends Natalie and Hannah who had their own issues to deal with which was great. I felt connected with all the characters in a sense, and loved every moment.

It just kept getting better and better! I was so gripped by the story that I took it with me wherever I went knowing I’d have a busy day. I kid you not, I spent every waking second reading on the train, at university, up until I came home and finished it at last and I absolutely loved it. Never have I read such an immense book as Love Letters to the Dead and I probably won’t be for a while yet. There are no amount of words that could give this book justice to how amazing it really is. It is just so beautifully written, like reading something straight out from a Shakespeare play. This is by far, the best YA Contemporary book I have read in 2014 as of yet and for sure it is a definite contender. I cannot praise Ava Dellaira highly enough but want to say a huge thank you to her for writing such a heart-warming book. This Dictator has fallen. It really got me thinking about a lot of things and even cherish life a little more. I know I will be reading it again and again. I would strongly recommend everyone to read this. It deserves the gold crown. This is one emotional roller-coaster you don't want to miss!


  1. Oh my, you really did love this book. I'm quite looking forward to reading it now. I'm really happy it pulled at you and you loved it so much, it sure has been a while since I felt so in love with a story that I just cannot wait to get my hands on this.

    Great first review!

    Georgie @ What She Reads

    1. Thank you so much!

      I really did! I'm so excited for other people who will read it for the first time because the experience is wonderful. You will fall in love with the book too!