“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. ”
Love Letters to the Dead is definitely good for a debut book and I have to say that’s it’s written rather well. However, since I read Night Road by Kristin Hannah, I can’t help comparing every other similar book to it and Love Letters to the Dead severely pales in comparison.
You see, both books are similar in the sense of love, loss, friends and family department, and they’re both coming-to-age stories of sorts so I was hoping that Love Letter to the Dead would evoke just as much emotions and tears as Night Road did. Fact is, the former didn’t. Yes, I know that both books aren’t exactly the same since in Night Road, we are introduced to the worlds of innocent, young Lexi and protective mother Jude whereas in Love Letters to the Dead, we see the world through broken and lost Laurel’s eyes. I knew that the tales would be different but even so, my hopes in the latter being just as heart-breaking and heart-warming as the former were completely dashed once I reached the end. The latter just didn’t pull enough heartstrings.
Still, I have to say that Laurel’s character is portrayed fittingly. I knew that she was broken and that she was lost the moment I read the description on the back of the book, but it was the words within that solidified those facts. One could say that she was trapped in the past without really realizing it because the truths rushed to surround her like thick fog no matter how hard she tried to find the light without wanting to confront them. She thought that she would be able to move on by finding another path but in the end, she still had to face the feared thick fog in order to truly continue forward. What I couldn’t really wrap my head around was the fact that she’s only in 9th grade and if it weren’t for the reminders here and there, my mind would’ve just automatically placed her as sixteen or seventeen even.
On the other hand, Sky—Laurel’s love interest—is an alright character. Only alright, not superb or anything else because to be honest, although their romance interested me to the point that I only wanted to know whether they got back together in the end or not, he didn’t really pop out to be as a person instead of a character like how Laurel managed to. I understand that Laurel could become human to me (and perhaps to some others as well) since she was the main character and it was through her point of view that the story was told but for Sky, it was like he was standing on the fence with one side being ‘book character’ and the other being ‘human’. At some points, he came alive while at others, he lost that life. I couldn’t really picture what was so appealing about him until I understood that he was a really understanding and caring person.
Though, I have to say that the other secondary characters are pretty great. Each one of them had so much depth to them—Tristan and Kristen who don’t appear as much as the others, and even Janey who never stopped caring despite losing touch with Laurel. This led to how Sky seemed a little underdeveloped to me because he’s Laurel’s love interest. I mean, shouldn’t he be more…for the lack of better terms, alive?
One other thing that appealed to me was how Dellaira brought the dead people to life. Before reading her book, the life stories of the people who passed away (like Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland and Amy Winehouse) were just neutral facts to me. However, as I journeyed with Laurel, the stories of the deceased that she wrote to came to life and for the first time ever, my heart broke for each one of them.
Rating : 3 out of 5 stars.