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.
OMG OMG OMG OMG If you loved Perks of Being a Wallflower THIS IS A MUST READ. I REPEAT: A. MUST. READ.
I loved every ounce of Love Letters to the Dead. I felt like I couldn’t highlight enough. It’s got the exact same vibe as Perks without it being a rip off, it’s unique on it’s own. It does have some similarities – the main character is going through her first year of high school. She isn’t writing to “a friend” but instead to dead people. I know that sounds weird at first, but it’s a school assignment in english for the class to write a letter to someone who has passed away – someone well known; Laurel assumes they mean a dead president or something, but instead she writes to people she can relate to in one way or another for various reasons – which she explains in each letter. I thought this was extremely well written and like I said, I loved every minute.
There are a couple other similarities to Perks, she gets taken under the wing of two seniors (but she’s got two friends of her own in her own grade too, and they all hang out together.) There’s also a LGBT aspect to this book that Perks had too, but I promise you - Love Letters to the Dead stands on it’s own just fine.
One thing I really thought was cool is that I was able to learn more about these celebrities – not trite little nothings, but things that reminded me that these were regular people that had regular problems. As we relate to Laurel, she in turn helps us relate to these people too, our shared humanity.
The more we read Laurel’s letters the more we learn about her life and how she’s gotten to this point in her life. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be highlighting like mad, and if you’re like me, you’ll be sad when you turn that last page, saying goodbye to the characters.
Love Letters to the Dead is one of those books that makes you appreciate life all the more, to relish in it, the good and the bad and to feel more ALIVE.
I was so excited when I finished Love Letters that I had to go back through and make a playlist of all the great music that was mentioned throughout the book. I might have missed some – and some might not be by their original artists because I found versions that fit better with how they were portrayed in the book [I'm speaking of Sweet Child O' Mine and Everywhere I Go]
Love Letters to the Dead
• This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.