Laurel’s first high school English assignment is to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain (lead singer of Nirvana) because Nirvana was her sister, May’s, favorite band. May died in April. Instead of turning in her assignment though Laurel continues to write these letters to dead people, including Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, and River Phoenix (but never the most important, May). Through these letters the reader sees Laurel’s family, broken and reeling after May’s death, experiences Laurel’s insecurities about starting at a new school, making new friends, having her first drink, and developing a relationship (maybe?) with Sky (who occasionally reminds her of River Phoenix). As the letters continue Laurel also starts to reveal more about May, who she was in life, and the events of the night of her death.
Told entirely in letters to dead people Laurel uses their lives and demises to frame her thoughts and what is going on in her life. While these letters probably include more detail than anyone would in reality write to someone (or in a diary) they are interesting, thoughtful, and keep you wondering about what was really going on with May around the time of her death. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira is a good read if you’re in the mood for realistic fiction that shows some harsh and heartbreaking realities, but is balanced (mostly) out with good friends and caring family members.
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher