Summary (from Goodreads):
“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 did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to 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 begin to discover her own path.“
I have no idea how to review this book. You should probably just read Kathy’s review because it’s perfect.
You know that line in The Book Thief, “I am haunted by humans” and how it simultaneously breaks your heart and fixes it? That’s this book.
I think we can all identify with Laurel and how it feels to try and rebuild your life after someone you love dies, and the way it hurts when you stop talking about that person. It’s a weird thing, you know; it’s a relief and it feels like a betrayal at the same time, because it hurts to talk about them and it hurts NOT to talk about them.
Laurel starts writing letters to dead celebrities as a school assignment but continues doing it. It helps that each celebrity connects to her life in some way and represents part of her, if that makes sense. (Many of the letters are to Kurt Cobain, who she quickly becomes on a first name basis with.)
I feel like I probably highlighted something every three or four pages, but this is my absolute favorite:
“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 ready to listen yet. Because every time we speak, there is a voice. There is the world that answers back.”
Highly, highly recommended.