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Love Letters to the DeadAva Dellaira

Ava Dellaira"I simply loved this book.  Love Letters to the Dead is more than a stunning debut. It is the announcement of a bold new literary voice." —Stephen Chbosky, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower

"A brilliant story about the courage it takes to keep living after your world falls apart. A heart-wrenching celebration of love and friendship and family." —Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Wintergirls

"With beautiful observations of where life can take us, from grieving to celebrating, disappointment to wonder, Love Letters to the Dead is a love letter to living." —Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why

"Dear Ava Dellaira: Your book broke my heart, and pieced it back together. As with Kurt, Janis, Amelia and the others who are gone but still somehow here, Love Letters to the Dead leaves an indelible mark." —Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay and Just One Day

Love Letters to the Dead is the story of a young girl's struggle to find her voice, at the time in her life when she needs to be heard the most.

After her free-spirited older sister dies, Laurel, a high school sophomore from New Mexico, is emotionally frayed and haunted by a lingering sense of guilt. She unexpectedly finds catharsis in an assignment from her English teacher: write a letter to a deceased person. For Laurel, the assignment begins an important journey, as she writes an ongoing series of letters to an eclectic group of poets, rock stars, and popular icons such as Judy Garland, Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse, and Elizabeth Bishop. Through her letters, we learn how Laurel's sister died, why she feels a sense of guilt, and the heartbreaking secret that Laurel has suffered and lost far more than previously thought.

Over the course of the school year, Laurel also recounts the adventures and tribulations of daily adolescence, and we meet an array of teen characters who enter into her life: two beautiful but troubled girls who are involved in a secret romance, a pair of hip seniors who are eager to educate Laurel in the ways of the world, an old friend who remembers her from a time when she wasn't so scattered, and a mysterious boy with whom Laurel falls deeply in love.

Ultimately, the letters deliver hope, as Laurel's epistolary confidants help her to confront the mystery of her sister's death and the ghosts of her haunted past. She triumphantly finds a voice of her own, regains her will and moves forward as she comes to her own understanding of what it means to be alive in this world.

Ava Dellaira is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She grew up in New Mexico and currently lives in Santa Monica, where she is writing her second book and works in the film industry.

Published Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers in spring 2014.