Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 1st May 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary/Coming of age
Page Count: 288
Original Language: English
Format Read: Paperback
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: N/A 

Where you can buy it:  AmazonThe Book DepositoryWaterstonesBarnes and NobleEbay

I have been meaning to buy and read this book for a while, and when I bought it with some of my Waterstones voucher I was really excited to read it. This is another of the books that I took on holiday with me, and I am sooo glad that I read this when I did.


It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand what Laurel is going through.

Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Pheonix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse... It's like she can't stop. She writes about her new high school, her new friends, her first love - and her shattered life.

But the ghosts of Laurel's last can't be contained between the lines of a page forever. She must face up to them - before they consume her.

*SPOILER ALERT: This review does not assume you have read the book* 

First of all, I just want to say THANK YOU for the diversity in this book. 

Mexican girls, darker skinned characters, girls who love girls... it is much appreciated for such a diverse range of characters in a contemporary young adult novel. You don't often see that much representation but this novel is clearly very different and I think a lot of people will respect this book for delivering what is often missing in our culture's literature.

This was some fabulous writing, and it really hit me hard. My heart was beating loudly in my chest when it occurred to me what had happened to Laurel when she was younger, and I was relieved when things were starting to look up for her at the end. It reminded me of a modern Perks of Being a Wallflower in a lot of ways, and that is one of the best books I've ever read, so I am highly praising Love Letters as well.

This book is an epistolary novel, which basically means the whole thing is composed of letters, and they were to various famous dead people. This was handled so well, because they were all arranged in a genius form and each letter related to a fact about the famous person. This was a really clever way of using letters, as sometimes in other novels they can be rendered meaningless.

Another thing that I liked, and this was a big thing for me that decided how I rated it, is that Laurel and Sky were a very fitting couple and who had a clear point to their relationship. By being together, they helped each other learn things about themselves that they wouldn't have discovered on their own, and since there was a clear reason why they were placed together, I respected the romance element to the book. 

Also, I love how being with Sky didn't fix her. So often in YA novels you find that there is a female character who is considered 'broken' and the male protagonist swoops in and becomes her saviour figure. This novel however went against this trope, which I am so grateful for, and hence why it is another reason why it was one of my most memorable summer reads.

Overall, I couldn't put this book down, and I didn't have any issues with it. My heart just wanted to protect Laurel, Hannah, Natalie, Tristan, Kristen, Sky, and May of course. I truly love these characters and they will stay with me for a long time. For this and all of the other reasons I have written about, this novel truly deserves 5/5 cups of tea.

About the author:

Ava was born in Los Angeles and grew up in New Mexico, and always had an imaginative mind as a child. When moving to LA with dreams of being a screenwriter, she did some work for Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower) and he suggested she write a novel when she showed him her writing. Thus, Love Letters to the Dead was born.

Where you can find Ava: Website, Twitter, Facebook


  1. I've had this book on my to-read list for a really long time, but it wasn't until I read this review that I decided to go ahead and get it! I'm really into contemporary, coming-of-age kind of books at the moment and this one sounds perfect!

    Lauren x

    1. I am so glad my review allowed you to make your mind up! You won't regret buying it I'm sure, it really is something special. Thanks for your comment :)


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