I’m not usually a fan of YA contemporary novels, but I was initially drawn to this book because of the premise. The novel follows Laurel, whose sister has recently died and is given an assignment at school to write a letter to a dead person. She chooses to not turn in her assignment, and the book is composed of all of the letters she writes to Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix, and a myriad of other deceased famous people. Unfortunately, Love Letters to the Dead fell flat for me.
I wasn’t a fan of Laurel. I understand that she’s grieving her sister, but she continuously makes bad decisions and suffers no consequence for them. I became sick of her whining over a boy that she liked, and just couldn’t connect with her. I loved the format of the book, and the idea of writing to famous people who inspire her, but the letters themselves don’t seem to fit with the personality of the person she’s writing to. There’ll be a couple of sentences related to that particular celebrity’s talents or creative output, but the rest of the letter is just Laurel basically writing a diary, and I would forget who she was even talking to. Also, the writing in this novel was just bland.
I wanted to like this novel, but just couldn’t. I do think some people will find solace in Love Letters to the Dead, especially if they’re an adolescent or are grieving. This just wasn’t for me, though.