“I mean, words can’t be good enough for a lot of things. But, you know, I guess we have to try.” – Love Letters to the Dead
My Synopsis: Laurel lost her sister a few months ago and is now starting high school. A different high school than the one her sister went to because she doesn’t want people to know, doesn’t want them to ask questions because there are secrets that Laurel just can’t say aloud. Then Laurel’s English teacher gives her the assignment to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel writes to Kurt Cobain because her sister loved him, but she doesn’t turn it in. Instead, she continues to write to a whole cast of characters that died too soon. Through these letters (and with the help of some awesome friends with struggles of their own) Laurel tells her story and discovers life, love, and herself.
First let me say that I find that I am harder on contemporary books when it comes to the star system, so I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked this book. The fault that lead to a 4 instead of a 5 stars is that it did drag a bit every once in a while, but honestly that is to be expected in such an introspective, character driven book. The voice in this book is amazing. It had an emotional core that kept you attached to the characters, but at the same time all the events that happened were being told to a third party, the dead, which gave a unique perspective.
Another beauty to the letters was in who they were written to and who they were not written to. As Laurel discovers things about herself and her sister and the world, the letters begin to reveal more and more of what Laurel really wants to say, and it pulls at your heart strings as you, the reader, begin to release who she is really talking to even when Laurel still believes she is writing the Kurt or Jim Morrison or Judy Garland.
The friends in this book are amazing. They see everything that Laurel needs even before she knows she needs it. You will very easily fall in love with all her friends and be rooting for them in their own struggles. And first love. =) Of course, there is a first love. It is… real. All of the members of this little group are very real. They each have weaknesses and each have strengths. In the romance, in all the romances, you watch in frustration as their weaknesses pull them apart and back together and apart and back together again.
Comparing Love Letters to the Dead to other books, I would say it is a mixture of Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Looking for Alaska by John Green. (May, Laurel’s sister, really reminds me of Alaska.) In other words, you will cry. A lot.
Video review here.