- Do you think some people would rather numb themselves to the pain they are feeling because they don’t know how to make it stop, or because they don’t want to get in trouble?
- How would you feel if you knew your sister was slowly going down the wrong path, but didn’t do anything to stop her?
- If you could write to any dead person/celebrity/author, who would you write to and why?
- Would you do anything to make sure that someone who looks up to you believed that you were invincible, just to make sure that they would always love and trust you?
I wish you could tell me where you are now. I mean, I know you’re dead, but I think there must be something in a human being that can’t just disappear. It’s dark out. You’re out there. Somewhere, somewhere. I’d like to let you in. – Laurel, p. 10
Losing a family member, especially one that you are close to, can be the worst feeling in the world. Imagine losing your best friend, your sister, and watching her die. This is exactly what happens with the main character Laurel, and the death of her sister May rocks her entire world. She ends up transferring schools, trying to make herself into a different person where nobody will ever know about her sister and the fact that May is dead.
Throughout the book, we see if this plan of Laurel’s actually works, through her own words. Since it all started as an English assignment – write a letter to a dead person – Laurel ends up using this assignment as a grieving mechanism, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. Her choices of dead people to write to seem to revolve around her memories of May. The more the letters come, however, Laurel eventually makes her own memories and opinions about the people she writes to that don’t always involve her sister.
Laurel does end up going through some character growth in the book, and while it does seem to take a while to happen, it eventually happens. Unfortunately, she is also a difficult character to fully relate to, and there were more times than one where I would get extremely frustrated with her thoughts and actions. Maybe it was because she was just being a teenager that was experimenting, or going through a rebellious stage, or maybe something else entirely. It just bothered me, because it seemed like she was doing it to herself, or letting herself be the victim of such actions.
It is important for those who do read this book to understand that you should never allow yourself to be victimized, and if something happens that makes you feel uncomfortable or violated, you need to talk to an authority figure and someone who can help you make those actions stop. Out of the entire book, this is the message that I feel needed to be stressed the most, and it was only mentioned at the very end.
Rated: 4/5 Stars
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. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?
It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally 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 truly start to discover her own path.
In a voice that’s as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl’s journey through life’s challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.
Synopsis provided by GoodReads.