Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Purchase: Amazon / BN
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 writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
Okay I know I am supposed to be feeling heartbroken and tearful but I am TICKED! This book is a prime example of what happens when parents are too wrapped up in their own problems and end up losing something precious because they were too self involved to notice signs. Yep I am TICKED!
Love Letters to the Dead is about Laurel and her struggle to move on after losing her older sister. All Laurel wanted to be was May. To her May hung the moon and much much more, but Laurel knows deep down that May wasn't always on the straight and narrow. Nope May would sneak out, lie, drink, and hook up with older guys. To Laurel though this was just about growing up and she felt left out when May changed. Mays sudden change took place right after her parents decided to split up after years of telling May that she was the reason her family was together in the first place. Yep pretty harsh right. Their mom moves out and well May just kinda goes in a different direction to hide her pain. Unfortunately Laurel wants to be just like May and things go downhill from there. When tragedy strikes and May dies Laurel is the only one who really knows what happened. One minute May was there the next she was gone and Laurel has to go on knowing that she might have been able to change everything.
I really loved the way this book was written. It was really interesting to see Laurel connect with so many famous people that have passed away. I learned so much more about quite a few people that she wrote too and it honestly changed my views on a few of them. What was heartbreaking to see was Laurel taking the same wild path that May did. I wanted to scream at her parents to wake up and see what was right there! Laurel needed help working through so much and her mom just up and leaves her! Yes I get it is beyond tough to lose a child but you have another one who needs you! STEP UP! I am so infuriated that so much that happens to Laurel could have been prevented. What happened before May dies was something that should have been prevented but I can see where it might not have been obvious but it is now so why did both her parents check out??!! Laurel deserved better than what she was handed.
Another thing that really bothered me about this is that nothing was done to a particular character that abused another character. I get that it happened a long time ago, but I still think criminal action should have been taken. Nobody should ever be allowed to get away with that and I wish the author would have said just a few lines about something being done. I'm not saying I wanted to see the whole trial and case, but please tell me that this person was being dealt with. I think that was the toughest for me. I know in real life these things don't always get punished but when I read a book I want them always to be punished.
All in all I did feel sympathy for Laurel but I just honestly feel enraged at her parents. She needed both of them and they both just checked out on her. Her friends weren't the best in the world but at least they were there for her in the end and they cared enough to let her cry on their shoulders. I am not sure if I got out of this what I was supposed to but it was a good read that will stay with me for quite a while.