“And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to be just a character, going whichever way the story says. It’s knowing you could be the author instead.” – Ava Dellaira.
After seeing a tweet from Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in February about this book I instantly had to add it to my reading list. Four months later I was finally able to read it myself. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my favourite books so I had rather high expectations of a book recommended by its author. This book did not disappoint.
Similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Love Letters to the Dead is an epistolary novel. This is the second reason why I was most looking forward to reading it. There is just something about letters that I just love. In a book we can gain so much from letters about the characters because they share their thoughts and feelings in them. This is especially the case when they have no intention of letting anyone read these letters as it gives them the freedom to write whatever they are thinking without fear of judgement.
“I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.”
Laurel writes letters to people who have died – trust me, it is not as depressing as it sounds, although there are sad parts – as a result of an assignment her teacher set at the beginning of the school year. The book follows Laurel’s year at school where she makes new friends, has her first boyfriend and reflects on the past. In this book, the truth becomes apparent to herself and those around her of the happenings of the night her sister, May, died as well as her life beforehand.
The use of these letters has made me really love the character of Laurel as you see everything from her perspective. Dellaira’s writing really made me sympathise with the character as well as those around her, in particular Hannah. The characters were wonderfully written and I loved them as Laurel loved them.
“There’s more to life than being a passenger.”
I love the role famous singers, actresses etc. have played in influencing Dellaira’s writing and the thoughts of her characters, almost similar to the influence of authors in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. There are similarities in the writings of Chbosky and Dallaira but the stories are also very different.
“They were beautiful, like their own constellation.”
This line is used a couple of times to refer to the characters Hannah and Natalie. I loved the relationship between these girls, I was shipping them all the way through. Clearly, so was Laurel. Another lovely touch was the lack of a love triangle which tends to be overused nowadays. I mean, it was clear that it would always be Sky. In many stories with love triangles, I don’t know about you, but it is usually pretty obvious who the main character is going to pick and it makes the book a lot less exciting. Love triangles are supposed to make you wonder who the character will pick, but in Love Letters to the Dead, you don’t have that “mystery”, instead there is this mysterious character named Sky and the mystery behind an actual person made me a whole lot more interested in the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I would rate this book 5/5.