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Love Letters to the Dead

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  81,168 ratings  ·  9,396 reviews
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 w ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Cecelia McDermott I found this book to be amazing, but I think you have to relate to the protagonist on some level (maybe not a lot, but at least a little bit) to agree…moreI found this book to be amazing, but I think you have to relate to the protagonist on some level (maybe not a lot, but at least a little bit) to agree with me. (less)
sara alford
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  81,168 ratings  ·  9,396 reviews

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Emily May
May 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Dear Famous Person,

You are so cool. My name is Laurel and I go to High School but I am still going to talk to you in the passive, immature voice of a 10 year old and then occasionally break out into beautiful metaphors about the sparkles in Sky's eyes and how just one glance from him makes fireflies dance in my stomach (or something equally nauseating beautiful).

"There is something fragile like moths inside of him, something fluttering. Something trying desperately to crowd toward a light. May
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Dear Kurt Cobain,
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.
For me, this book was pointless, puerile, and pretentious, with a character who is the passive, dull YA contemporary equivalent of Bella Swan or Luce Price.
It’s hard to be myself, because I don’t know exactly who I am. But now that I’ve started high school, I need to figure it out really fast.
The main character was simultaneously too naive and juvenile, while never letting me fo
Wendy Darling
4.5 stars Months ago, I had to put Love Letters to the Dead down because it was making me so desperately sad. Almost a full year later, I read the last half of it with a lump in my throat and tears dripping down my face. This is a profoundly moving meditation on grief, written with rare sensitivity and the kind of prose that nearly stops your heart with moments of quiet, anguished beauty.

Review on the blog:

Strongly recommended for fans of If I Stay.

Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Love Letters To The Dead is too beautiful, too meaningful, and too heartbreaking to describe with words. An incredible, moving and very important story with a beating heart and bright soul. It's one of those books that everyone ought to read, own, and share with all their friends.

don't miss it
Ash Wednesday
Our flushing hearts, trying to climb the stars - how with the wrong wind, we can fall.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so many contrasting emotions for a book as I did for this one. My first impulse was to rage quit this as early as the second Cobain letter, followed by derisively laughing at Laurel’s puerile drama. Then I felt some alien tug at my heart over Aunt Amy and her Jesus Man and got teary-eyed over the story behind her parents’ broken marriage. Reading this book felt a lot li
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Obviously Mitchell and I aren’t the target demographic for this book, so take my rating with several grains of salt and I’m going to keep this short and sweet sour, just like myself. Love Letters To The Dead could have been a perfectly A-Okay book for me. The basic storyline is Laurel’s sister May is gone and Laurel is lost in her grief. She swaps schools in order to get rid of the “sister of the dead girl” stigma and is presented
Rashika (is tired)
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

WARNING: This book may cause you to spend a whole day feeling down.

“There are some things I can’t tell anyone, except the people who aren’t here anymore”

This is honestly a very hard book to review. It brought out a lot of mixed feelings in me. I went back and forth between being pissed and loving the book and it wasn’t until the 3rd third that I decided that this book was wonderful. A warning though, if you don’t like drama, avoid thi
Aj the Ravenous Reader

"You can be noble and brave and beautiful and still find yourself falling."

Although the title is a blaring warning that this is going to be a tough and probably a torturous read, I boldly ignored it because look at the book cover. Doesn’t it look beautiful? Its invisible strings had this unrelenting tug at my eyes and my heart that made me give in and grab the book. ^^

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book but what I did not expect is that the entire story is written through let
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Underwhelming. I had expected a beautiful story when I went into this book. What I got was an annoying protagonist, one- dimensional characters and a history of celebs who died at a very young age. If I had written this review right after I had completed the book, I'm sure that half of it would have been in caps. I was that annoyed.

The beginning was quite slow and I had to plough through those pages. I was expecting the book to get better, but then, how wrong was I? I was completely wrong. Thin
WOW OH WOW!!!! I'm speechless, this book was so amazing!!! Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira was written in letter style by our main character, Laurel. This book touched my heart in so many ways. I have never read a book by Ava Dellaira before, but i'm glad this was my first book by this author because it was so good!!! Ava Dellaira has a way of connecting her readers with this story, but others may disagree with me because they didn't feel connected to the main character. Love Letters to ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
"You can be noble and brave and beautiful and still find yourself falling."

This book was so beautiful and heart breaking.

It begins as an assignment in English class where Laurel, our mc, writes letters to dead people, from the likes of Judy Garland, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. We are told from the beginning that Laurels elder sister May died young.

While we are not told the circumstances of the death straightaway, we are told snippets of the events leading up to her death, how her death happe
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I ended up enjoying this book and the characters a lot, but it was SO similar to Perks that it annoyed me. I love the idea of writing letters to someone who is dead, and I love how the author included facts and things about the famous person's life. The characters were lovely and the writing was beautiful. Getting over loss is never easy, and I really liked how the author approached it.
The romance aspect felt a little forced to me. There wasn't much build up or substance or....anything, until cl
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
“What I told you about saving people isn't true. You might think it is, because you might want someone else to save you, or you might want to save someone so badly. But no one else can save you, not really. Not from yourself. [...] You fall asleep in the foothills, and the wolf comes down from the mountains. And you hope someone will wake you up. Or chase it off. Or shoot it dead. But when you realize that the wolf is inside you, that's when you know. You can't run from it. And no one who lov
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book is a hard one for me to decide how to rate. There were parts of it I really liked and there were parts of it when I thought my eyes would glaze over and never recover.
Laurel is given an assignment to write to a dead person. She begins to do so and never turns in the assignment. Once she starts she keeps going with it and changes to several past celebrities and historical figures. She has moved to a new school to help cope with her sister Mae's death. Hoping that a new school will shie
Elle (ellexamines)
“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.”

The central argument of Love Letters to the Dead is that finding human connection is the only way to move past grief; that finding love is the best way of coming to terms with our past. But that's not always as easy as it seems. “The more you love something, the harder it is to lose,” side character Natalie says to our narrator, Laurel. The writing styl
Ashley Daviau
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tore my heart into pieces and left me a total mess. It was both absolutely beautiful and devastating at the same time. I wasn't expecting the whole book to be in the form of letters but when I saw it was, I was thrilled. I loved the idea of it and it totally sucked me in. I related to the main character Laurel in many ways and I think that's a big part of why I loved this book so much. I went through a very difficult period right around the same age as she is during the story and so I ...more
Apr 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
Tedious. Repetitive. Pretentious. Love Letters to the the Dead is too similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Yes, a copy.
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I AM A MESS RIGHT NOW, BUT OMG THIS BOOK HAS TOUCHED ME SO DEEPLY. I can't even coherently gather my thoughts. Just know that I wholeheartedly recommend you read this book. A heartbreakingly beautiful story about grief and growing up. A story about forgiveness. Love, friendship, and family themes are all present. This book will grab hold of you and won't let go. I'm SO in love with this book. In love with Laurel's story. May's story. And every other cha
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Nothing is worse that when someone who is supposed to love you just leaves.


I felt a bit like climbing a ladder with this one. Only the rungs felt a little rusty and unstable at times. At first, I thought it was more along the lines of, what I call, a 2 star book, but slowly, and steadily, I watched my opinion of this book rise. I definitely considered giving it a 4 star rating, but whilst, there were parts where I stopped for a second and thought 'wow', unfortunately I had to chip it d
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
2.5 Stars
Overall it was a letdown. Immature characters and predictable drama :(

Laurel is given an assignment in Freshman English to write a letter to a dead person. While she doesn't turn in the assignment, for the rest of the year she continues to write to dead celebrities about her life. Her sister died and she's starting at a new school district, meeting new friends, navigating potential pitfalls, and meeting boys. As the year goes on Laurel meets a group of friends and a boy that makes a maj
Dayse Dantas
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Kate Chopin,
there's something extraordinary about writing letters the dead. I think it's because it's kind of freeing to write something to someone who will never ever read it. You don't feel silly about getting too deep or too poetic or too weird or nonsensical. And it's better than writing a diary, because a diary is basically one talking to oneself, and sometimes we don't want to talk to ourselves, we want to talk to someone else, but we can't because we don't want to sound too deep or t
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like disaster.

Love Letters To The Dead is, in sum, about loss, grief and guilt; all welded together into a sharp weapon that keeps stabbing at the heart of Laurel. Once I began this novel, I found striking resemblance with two books: Love, Rosie because of the presentation of the story in the format of letters and All the Bright Places because of an on-silent-mode central character (like Violet Markey) who has lost her sister. Nonethel
wow. That's such a massive, massive understatement, but I Hands down the best book I've read in 2014. ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-contemporary

I have been anticipating this book since last year. I thought the premise of the book sounded amazing & it was! Now I will say if you are fan of Stephen Chbosky's 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower', you will LOVE this book! Fun fact, Ava actually worked for Mr. Chbosky for awhile & gave him some of her writing and he urged her to write a novel. So as you can tell he was a big influence over this book.

I thought the book started off a little slow so I was ver
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya


You all are well aware by now that I am completely and helplessly obsessed with YA books. I’ll read just about anything in that genre. Literally. I can’t get enough of it. I don’t know if I never grew up from my own teenage years, or if I felt that my teenage years weren't what they were supposed to be, or if I just have some weird fascination with teenagers. What I do know is that I can’t say no to YA novels.

Love Letters to the Dead was brought to my attention by one of those stupid fake Dea
jv poore
Passages from this phenomenal story pop into my head, even though I read this more than a year ago.
******* ******* ******* ******* ******* ******* ********
I need to give a copy of this book to every single teen and young adult that I encounter.

If ever I was to tout a book for recommended reading; this is the one.

I believe it will be impossible to read this book without becoming at least a little bit better of a person for having done so.
J.m. Darhower
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love Letters to the Dead is the type of book you either love or hate. There's very little middle ground. Either you find it utterly brilliant, or you have a hard time even making it through the damn thing. And I can see why some might not like it... it's certainly not for everyone. I stayed up all night reading the book. Literally. All night. I finished the last word 45 minutes before my alarm went off.

And I don't regret it for a second.

I was awestruck by the author's bravery in tackling the sub
Sarah Churchill
Wow. I don't know where to start...

The only reason this didn't get 5 stars from me is because I found it a teensy bit slow to begin with, and the main character Laurel wasn't particularly likeable. That's entirely on purpose, I know, but I just didn't buy into her story right away. Once the layers started to peel away though - and this book is FULL of layers, like onions and Shrek - it became a deep and powerful masterpiece.

The secrets that have been haunting Laurel are eventually revealed, and
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016

4 stars. Love Letters to the Dead is an amazing book, but I made the mistake of going into it with really high expectations, and that made it seem like it wasn't as good as it could have been.

I hate when I do that.

Maybe when we can tell the stories, however bad they are, we don't belong to them anymore. They become ours. And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don't have to just be a character, going whichever way the story says. It's knowing that you could be the auth
Lilith Black Bee
Jul 03, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at page 127

I don't have any kind of joy reading this... I wasn't getting into it with any expectations since the reviews that l read where kind of mixed opinions. Maybe it gets better at one point, but l am not willing to lose my time reading something that l do not enjoy! It was like l was reading the journal of a 10 years old girl, for God's sake!
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I was born in Los Angeles. One of my first memories is of looking out the window of the black Cadillac that my family drove across the wide-open desert when we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where I grew up, and where my sister and I spent countless summer afternoons making fairy potions, battling evil witches, and playing other imaginary games that probably contributed to my proclivit ...more

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