Ava Dellaira – Love Letters to the Dead


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.


Magyarul is megjelent Ava Dellaira – Kedves halottak! címmel a Ciceró Könyvstúdió gondozásban 2015-ben.  


Néha azok a legjobb levelek, amelyekre nincs is válasz.
Egy angol házi feladattal kezdődik: írj levelet egy halottnak, mindegy, kinek. Laurel Kurt Cobaint választja, mert Kurt fiatalon halt meg, csakúgy, mint May, Laurel nővére, így talán megért egy kicsit abból, hogy Laurel min megy keresztül. Laurel nemsokára egyre több halottnak ír levelet – Janis Joplinnak, Heath Ledgernek, River Phoenixnek, Amelia Earhartnek, szinte abba sem bírja hagyni. Megírja nekik, mi történik az új középiskolában, és hogyan hullott szét May halála után a családja.
De akármennyit segítenek is neki a levelek, nem tarthatja örökre távol magától az igazi életet. Múltjának kísértetei nem férnek bele az írott sorokba, és Laurelnek szembe kell néznie a gyermekkor lezárulásával, az imádott testvér elvesztésének fájdalmával és a felismeréssel, hogy egyedül mi formálhatjuk a sorsunkat.


Véleményem a könyvről

Oh dear! Annyira csodálatos volt ez a könyv, hogy szinte szóhoz sem jutok. Nagyon ritka, hogy ennyire mélyen megérint egy könyv, de most úgy érzem ez a történet szinte bekúszott a bőröm alá, és beleivódott az összes pici porcikámba. Nagyon különleges kötet, különleges stílussal.

A főszereplő kislány Laurel, azt a feladatot kapja az iskolában, hogy írjon egy levelet egy halott embernek. Ő Kurt Cobaint választja, a Nirvana énekesét és ahelyett, hogy beadná a dolgozatot, inkább folytatja a levelek írását, egyfajta naplóként. Egy idő után több hírességnek ír leveleket, úgy mint Amelia Earhartnak, Jim Morrisonnak, Janis Joplinnak, Heath Ledgernek, Amy Winehousenak, sőt River Phoenixnek is a Stand by Me-ből. Laurel ekkor kezdi a gimnáziumot, úgy hogy csupán néhány hónapja vesztette el a nővérét. Teljesen elveszettnek érzi magát a gimiben, majd folyamatosan leírja, hogy hogyan talál barátokat, hogyan találja meg Skyt és vele együtt a szerelmet és hogyan találja meg a helyét May nélkül.

Az egész könyv egyfajta kirakós, amiben csak végén derül ki mi is történt pontosan Mayel, de a könyv folyamán a kislány lelkének legösszetörtebb, legfájdalmasabb darabkáiba is bepillantást nyerhetünk. Mivel az egész könyv levelekből tevődik össze, így szinte az egész csak leírásokból áll és nagyon kevés benne a párbeszéd, de többek között ez teszi különlegessé. May karaktere engem legjobban John Green Alaskájára emlékeztetett. Pont olyan különleges, furcsa, játékos és mégis összetört lány volt. Azt hiszem ezt a könyvet mindenkinek el kellene olvasnia, annyira szívettépő, csodálatos és meghatározó.

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My Review in English

Oh, Dear! This book was so beautiful that I lost my words. It is really rare that a book can touch so deep in my soul but I feel that this book crawled under my skin and deeply ingrained in every part of me. This was really special book with a very special writing style.

For an English assignment the main character Laurel has to write a letter to a dead person. She chooses Kurt Cobain who was the vocalist of the famous band Nirvana. She decides to not turn in the letter, instead she continues to write the letters to the dead, like some kind of diary. She writes letters to a lot of well-known personalities like Amelia Earhart, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse and even River Phoenix from Stand by Me. Laurel starts High School after she loses her sister. She feels herself really lost, but after some time with her journals she starts to write down how she finds friends, how she meets with Sky and how she finds the love with him, and the most important, that how she finds her place without her sister, May. The whole book is like some kind of puzzle, where you can find out what happened with May only in the end of the book. During the reading you can peer into the deepest, saddest, most shattered pieces of Laurel’s soul. She believes that her sister died because of her and that her family is being torn apart in the aftermath.

Because the whole book is composed of letters, it contains mostly descriptions and just very few dialogs, but this is one of the things that makes this book so special. The character of May reminded me of Alaska from the Finding Alaska by John Green. May – just like Alaska – is really special, strange and playful, too and she is at least like shattered like Alaska was. I think that everybody should read this book because it is something really extraordinary, heart-breaking, wonderful and determinative at the same time.


My Favorite Quotes From the Book

„I know I wrote letters to people with no address on this earth, I know that you are dead. But I hear you. I hear all of you. We were here. Our lives matter.”

„Nirvana means freedom. Freedom from suffering. I guess some people would say that death is just that. So, congratulations on being free, I guess. The rest of us are still here, grappling with all that’s been torn up.”

 „Sometimes when we say things, we hear silence. Or only echoes. Like screaming from inside. And that’s really lonely. But that only happens when we weren’t listening. It means we weren’t ready to listen yet. Because every time we speak, there is a voice. There is the world that answers back.”

 “You can be noble and brave and beautiful and still find yourself falling.”

“Maybe that’s what being in love is. You just keep filling up, never getting fuller, only brighter.”

“You sang the fear, and the anger, and all of the feelings that people are afraid to admit to. Even me. But I know you didn’t want to be our hero. You didn’t want to be an idol. You just wanted to be yourself. You just wanted us to hear the music.”

“It was a world full of feelings that I didn’t have words for yet.”

Six- ’Dear Laurel, I want to hug you!’ -Stars

6 stars



About the Author

I was born in Los Angeles. One of my first memories is of looking out the window of the Cadillac that my family drove across the desert when we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where I grew up, and where my sister and I spent countless summer afternoons making fairy potions, battling evil witches, and playing other imaginary games that probably contributed to my proclivity to make up stories.

My first memory of writing is as a 2nd grader. I had been assigned to write a poem about the things I liked and why. I started out pretty unassumingly: “I like rainbows because they are pretty. I like kittens because they are soft.” And then I wrote, “I like my Mom—” but I couldn’t come up with the end of the sentence. I remember it vividly because it was my first awareness of that space between a feeling, and the language that we have to name it. No words seemed big enough. I thought about all of the things that I loved about her, all of the fun stuff we did together, and finally I settled on, “I like my Mom because she gave birth to me.” That just seemed the most basic. It was, in part, her beautiful life and sudden, untimely death (just after I had graduated college) that inspired me to write this book.

After a lot of growing up (stories for another time), I went to college at the University of Chicago, and then received my MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where I lived on the bottom floor of a farm house once occupied by Kurt Vonnegut (how cool is that?!) and studied poetry.

After graduating from Iowa, I moved to Los Angeles with aspirations of becoming a screenwriter, and had the good fortune to get a job working for Stephen Chbosky. When I gave him some of my writing, he said, “I think you should write a novel.” The idea had actually never occurred to me before. But that night, on my drive home, I was staring absently at the half-full moon while waiting for a red like to change, and the title popped into my head:. Love Letters to the Dead. I started writing the book that night.

Now I live in Santa Monica, in an apartment the size of a shoebox close to the beach. Running, walking, or riding my bike by it are some of my favorite activities. My windows are almost always open, even in the winter. (Cheers to Southern California!) I also love going the farmers market and buying myself flowers, binge watching TV, and going to movies (where I am always the one crunching the popcorn during the supposed- to-be-quiet moment). I don’t have a dog but I hope to one day very soon. I love spending time with my boyfriend and with my wonderful family. I visit New Mexico as often as I can (I’m addicted to its wide-open endless skies). Sometimes I drive home from work and still feel astonished by the shock of blue water ahead of me as I come over the hill, and I feel so grateful that I am here. That’s how I also feel about publishing my first book, and I am profoundly grateful to you for reading it.

Ava Dellaira is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. She grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago. She believes this book began when she bought her second album ever—Nirvana’s In Utero—which she listened to on repeat while filling the pages of her journal. She currently lives in Santa Monica, California, where she works in the film industry and is writing her second novel.

You can learn more about Ava Dellaira here: http://www.avadellaira.com/

♪ A könyvhöz kapcsolódik a Zene a könyvben #4 bejegyzésem. ♪

♫ Related to this book my Music in The Book #4 post. ♫

Playlist for the Book


Love Letters to the Dead Movie

“After kicking off the insanely popular, billion-dollar Twilight franchise, Catherine Hardwicke is set to return to the realm of hugely popular YA fiction with an adaptation of Ava Dellaira‘s Love Letters to the Dead.

The Fox 2000 project is an adaptation of Ava Dellaira’s Love Letters to the Dead, which was published in April 2014.

Dellaira will write the script.

Hardwick helmed the first Twilight film, which hit theaters in 2008 and launched the $3.3 billion franchise. Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who produced the successful YA franchise, are producing Love Letters. Their recent projects include the adaptation of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns (which opens on July 24), plus Fox’s Maze Runnerfranchise.”






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