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.
Excuse me while I wipe all these pesky tears out of my eyes after that emotional epilogue there!
When I first saw this book in Macmillan's catalog I knew I HAD to read it. While I'm not a huge fan of PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (the book anyways, loved the movie), which I heard this was similar to, the premise of this book won me over so I gave it a shot. I'm so glad that I did. When I first started reading I definitely saw the similarities but I got so attached to these characters so quickly and before I knew it I was majorly engrossed in this story of finding yourself, tragic loss, love, and friendship.
Laurel was such a lost person. She had little self worth and after May died she seemed to spiral more. She spent the majority of her time trying to be May, which is something that she just isn't. She made new friends and met Sky and somewhere along the way life started to chip away her defenses. She stayed very closed up about May and things that made her the way she was. The journey to getting Laurel to open up was so beautiful and so vivid. I found myself very emotional several times throughout this book.
Not only was I emotional for Laurel, but I was for Hannah and Sky. They both had their own sets of issues and I was glad to see Laurel help them with theirs as much as they helped her with hers. I think it really helped Laurel to see that she wasn't alone in having issues and in helping them she found ways to help herself.
I would definitely recommend this book to readers of YA Contemporary and I can't wait to pick up my finished copy!
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