I wanted to like this book. I SO wanted to. The idea of it sounds great... it sounded a little like Ketchup Clouds, which I did love. Though instead of writing to a guy on death row, she's writing to dead rock stars and actors and such. Mostly these letter-style books usually just turn out like regular books, there's just a Dear Whoever in the beginning. I don't know about you, but when I write a letter to someone I don't write it in book style. But these letter books always seem to be written in scenes and convos just like a regular book. And duh I get why, but if it's a letter I want something a little bit different.
Anyhow... that's not the reason I wasn't feeling this book. The reason is Laurel. She was only in 9th grade and yeah she's been through a lot... but I would think that would make her wise for her age. Well it didn't. She was so immature. And I know I was probably a super annoying teenager at that age doing and saying super annoying things... but I don't want to read about one. She was SUCH a follower. Everything her friends did, she went along with and did. Everything they said, she parroted like an idiot. She was trying to BE her dead sister for much of the book too. And it annoyed me because honestly her dead sister was very troubled, so why she wanted to be her was beyond me. Plus, get your own identity. I mean every single dead famous person she wrote to were idols of people she knew. Like if someone she met had a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt on, she'd be like, who is that?, they'd tell her, she'd go home and Wikipedia them, and write them a letter. It annoyed me. Why don't you like who YOU like, instead of who you think is "cool"??
I guess it's my personal taste. I don't want to read about the girl who eats Nutter Butters at lunch because that's what everybody else eats. I want to read about the girl who marches to her own beat. Eats whatever she wants, listens to bands that she personally likes, or at least figures out who she really is at some point.
The other thing was the plethora of pedophiles. College guys (and 25 year olds) should NOT be dating/messing around with/whatever 14 and 15 year-olds. That is gross. I'm not saying that it was promoted in this book or anything. It wasn't like shown as a good thing... but it just kept being shown over and over. All these older guys with 9th graders. I just couldn't.
The execution of these letters was another thing. Maybe this is just a thing with me, but it annoyed me to no end the way Laurel talked in these letters. She's like- Dear River Phoenix, I read online that you grew up in a family that was involved in a cult and that you guys moved to Hollywood so you could act. So here's what happened to me today. Ummmm ok??? How does you Wikipedia-ing River Phoenix have anything to do with you sleeping over at your friends house? There wasn't a lot of connecting the writing to the dead people to how it related to her life... which is what I wanted. I guess if I were to say something nice about these letters it would be that it is cool to see people that I grew up listening to/watching on TV still making an impact on a younger generation. (But it also seems pretty unrealistic that all these kids in her life idolize so many artists from the 70's-90's).
I did like Laurel's two friends Hannah and Natalie, who are in love with each other, but having a hard time admitting it out loud. I thought that part of the book was interesting and actually made me feel something. It's pretty much the only thing that kept me reading.
So yeah this book is just not for me. The annoying-ness of young teens was overwhelming, the disconnect with the letters, the pedophiles and lack of any parental guidance... it was just too much. Also the "big reveal" was pretty obvious to me. I saw it coming a mile away. I don't want to tell you what it is, but I will tell you that it's common in YA books.
OVERALL: Pass on this one. The idea of it sounds fun, but it is not executed well. The main character has zero identity... she's just wandering around trying to be like other people. And she's annoying and immature. Read at your own risk!
This Book Contains:
- Of course letters to people like: Jim Morrison, River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, etc.
- First Love
- Parental abandonment
- LGBT issues
- Teenage rebellion
- Religion (the aunt)
- Wikipedia (kidding)
- Parties- drugs, alcohol, etc.
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, Giroux (BYR) for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Date Published: 4/1/2014 (April fool's... coincidence?? I don't think so.)