Review: Love Letters to the Dead
Released by Hot Key Books on 1 May 2014
It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person - any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart... it's like she can't stop. And she'd certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it's like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time - and how her family has shattered since May died.
But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can't keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won't be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realisation that only you can shape your destiny.
Because this book I am reviewing is made up entirely out of letters to celebrities, I thought I’d try something like that too.
Frodo Love Letters to the Dead,
I honestly don’t remember what I had expected when I heard about you for the first time. Yes I’d heard you would be written in the form of letters to deceased celebrities (from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse), but that was about it. I had not expected it to be like this, but maybe I was still in an Illuminae-induced trance when I bought you.
Basically, you were just an average contemporary story that reminded me mostly of Saving June – minus the whole roadtrip. You also reminded me of the John Green books, though you were not that full of metaphors that I did not get at all, so there you have an extra half point. (Yes, I do like John Green’s books, but the metaphors, ugh).
You may have felt already that when I picked you up, I was still not 100% if I was going to enjoy you, because I am honestly not a contemporary lover in general. There were some great ones that I read the past couple of years, but also a couple of missers. Still, I was intrigued by your whole ‘letters to the dead’ idea.
Your writing style was really nice, and though it was a bit hard for me to get into the first couple of letters, I flew through the second half of the book mainly because I really wanted to know what had happened to the sister of your main character. I have to admit that I had been expecting something more shocking, but it’s also nice to know it wasn’t something super awful that happened. View Spoiler »Yes, of course, a loved one dying is the most awful thing that can happen to a person, but I had thought that May either killed herself, had a big car accident that Laurel was in as well, or that she had been murdered or something. So reading about her fall in the river felt a bit ‘better’ than the usual tragic deaths I read about in books. « Hide Spoiler
To be honest, I can’t say I loved you; but I did like reading you, though I found your main character to be a bit annoying. It felt to me like she was trying so hard to be friends with people, that she did things she didn’t really want to do. Like stealing, and drinking alcohol, and smoke cigarettes, and go to prom with a guy she caught jerking off in class (who the fuck does that?!). View Spoiler »Who later on in the book tried to rape her after drugging her at a party, yeah top lad! « Hide Spoiler Later on, as I read more and more about Laurel’s past, I realised that she was just trying to cope with more things than just her sister’s death, and it made me sympathize with her a bit better. I also liked her friendship with Natalie and Hannah better after a while, but your first couple of chapters were a bit – well – ‘meh’, I should say, dear book.
As for the romance, I felt like you had a bit of an insta-love thing going on, though it was later on explained why Sky was interested in Laurel from the moment they locked eyes, but still, it didn’t convince me that much. I liked them when they were together though, so I guess I’m just a little bit conflicted about it.
In the end, though I enjoyed you, I also don’t think I’ll be reading you again. Maybe it is also because I just had a weird day when I read the majority of this book, that I just couldn’t really get through you and I felt like I was falling right into a nother reading slump, two books before the finish of my reading challenge. But I finished you, and I did like you.
I recommend you to lovers of John Green and just contemporary novels in general. I hope those people will love you better. I am sorry, dear book, but you are just not the one for me! I do have one more gif for you, to express my general feelings about you!
Ps: Your cover is gorgeous, keep up the good work!