April 8, 2014

Guest Review of Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Rating: 3 stars
Release date: April 1, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.

The concept for this book is beautiful.  The letters are executed wonderfully.  There were little things, especially early on, that I enjoyed, like when Laurel talked about what she'd do when she was sick and stayed home from school.  All the characters were interesting.  Tristan and Kristen were adorable together, and I thought it was sweet how they interacted with Laurel.  Laurel's relationship with her mother was bumpy at the start of the book, and it was good to see it strengthen by the end.  I also liked how Laurel and Natalie (one of her new friends) stood up for Hannah (another of Laurel's new friends) when her brother was mistreating her.  What I didn't like was how underage drinking and drugs were treated so casually.  Not every high schooler does drugs, drinks, and/or smokes.  I also felt like Laurel's voice sounded very immature throughout the whole book.  She's a freshman in high school, so I get that she shouldn't sound as mature as me.  But it felt like she was 9 years old at times.  It was also weird how sometimes Sky acted like her boyfriend, and then other times, acted like her older brother or a father figure.  
It bothered me how Christianity was treated in the book (Aunt Amy was a Christian, but she made some strange choices and Laurel seemed to really look down on religion).  I understand that most characters do not share my faith, but too many laugh at it or don't think highly of it.  I did like how Laurel helped her aunt get past the "Jesus Man."  It was sweet and loving, especially since the "Jesus Man" was one of the Christians who gives the rest of us a bad name.  Worth noting is that romance can get semi-passionate at times.  There are allusions to molesting and rape, but neither is too graphic.  There's also one couple whose relationship is explored throughout the book and it did make me a bit uncomfortable because it doesn't agree with my views, but it wasn't entirely thrown in my face, and I appreciated that.

Love Letters to the Dead didn't meet all the expectations I had, but it was a nice read.

Thanks for letting me guest review!
Special thanks to Emma who wrote this guest review of Love Letters To The Dead
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