Friday, June 27, 2014

Love Letters to the Dead - YA Bingo

Completed On: June 27th
# of Pages: N/A
Bingo Category: A Book With Magic

The reason I decided not to include the number of pages is because I've never actually held a physical copy of this book. I've been listening to it as an audio book. I adore audio books. I download them on my iPod and I listen to them as I walk to work, when I'm running errands with my mom and grandma on Fridays, or even just when I'm laying alone in my room and don't feel like doing anything else. I've got a bunch on my iPod, and I love re-listening to them too. I actually bought this audio book a few weeks ago, and it was on sale for $5.99! I'm not sure if it still is, but you can always check out iTunes or to take a look for yourself. And whether you love audio books or ebooks or like to hold a physical paperback in your hand, I highly recommend that you pick up this book.

When I read a story like this, it reminds me again and again, with every new word and every quotable sentence, why I decided that I want to write YA books one day, or just books in general. The writing in this story, written by Ava Dellaira, is beautiful. The language, the main character Laurel, the emotions she manages to contain within a collection of pages (or in my case, in an audio recording performed by.Julia Whelan), are so, so beautiful. Dellaira includes poetry in her story, not just what she has written herself but the works of other dead poets. This book itself is like an example of poetry. At first, when listening to this story, I was overwhelmed by the amount of description, how the female narrator described the world around her, but in a way this allowed the reader, or at least this reader in particular, to see that Laurel saw the world around her as tangible poetry.

One of the first poems she references in this book is "The Art of Losing Isn't Hard To Master" by Elizabeth Bishop. One of the letters that Laurel writes is actually to the poet itself. This poem touched me so much, in my own personal way, that I printed off a copy and sent it to my boyfriend (I often like to send him scraps of writing that I've come across that speak to me in some way). Dellaira did an excellent job of making the reader understand what this poem, and many others, meant for Laurel, and why she carried them with her throughout the year in which this novel takes place.

This isn't exactly spoiler territory, but I'll put up a warning here just in case, because I feel the need to explain why I chose this book to fit into the bingo square "A Book With Magic." There are quite a few reasons, but I'll begin with the most cut-and-dry version. In one of her letters (which is how Laurel narrates the entire book, through letters to dead singers, actors, poets, etc.), Laurel tells of story of one late night when she and her older sister May, recently deceased, were very young. When their parents were fighting in the other room and Laurel told her sister that she was scared, May told her that she was scared because there were witches nearby, but they had magic that could banish the witches because the both of them were fairies. Laurel carries along the imagery of her older sister May and even herself as a fairy throughout the entire story, right up until the very last letter, where Laurel finally writes to May and explains a dream where Laurel was finally able to see May's fairy wings as they carried her up to the sky and away from her world. They are of course not actual fairies; this is not a book with supernatural characters, and there are no immortal or other-worldly creatures present in this story. But the magic that Laurel clings to as she comes to terms with losing her sister and her realizations about the world around her while she tries to find her place in it, that magic exists. Okay, spoilers over.

To sum up, I really can't think of a better word to describe this book aside from beautiful. The language is beautiful, the main character is beautiful, and the magic inside this story is so beautiful that it will be with you long after the voices from your ear buds stop coming, or long after you've turned the last page. If you want to experience a story that is truly magical, buy a copy or download it today.

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