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.
I loved this book. I really liked the layout, the letters through which the story was told, and the way that Laurel, the main character, would write to a certain person when their life or works link to he life at that time in some way. She used their experiences and their words to help her come to terms with everything that had happened in her life, and I really liked the way this was done. I did find that Laurel seemed really young at times, in a way that slightly annoyed me, but that didn’t happen often so I didn’t mind too much.
At the start of the book, Laurel just wanted to be like her sister, be as cool and outgoing as she saw her sister to be, but by the end she came into herself and found her voice and became her own person. She learnt from her experiences and grew quite a lot as a character and stopped wanting to be like her sister, as she realised the value of being her own person.
I am so glad I picked this up, and I will definitely pick up anything else Ava Dellaira writes.
My rating: ★★★★☆