Blog Archives

[Book Review] Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira


Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Published: April 1st, 2014
No. of Pages: 336 pages
ISBN: 9780374346683
Format: Ebook
Goodreads: here
Opening sentence:
Dear Kurt Cobain,
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.


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.


Mungkin ini yang dinamakan love at first sight. Saya iseng browsing membuka email yang sudah lama saya abaikan. Pas membuka email dari seorang blogger favorit saya, dia memamerkan buku bacaannya minggu ini.
Salah satu yang catchy, baik cover maupun judul adalah buku ini.

Laurel adalah seorang remaja dengan jiwa yang terluka. Dia ditugasi oleh guru Bahasa Inggrisnya untuk menulis surat kepada orang yang sudah mati. Surat pertama Laurel ditujukan kepada mendiang Kurt Cobain, salah satu pendiri grup legendaris genre Grunge yang merupakan idola kakaknya, May,yang sudah meninggal.

Surat pertama berlanjut dengan surat kedua, ketiga, dan seterusnya.

Laurel mencurahkan isi hatinya dengan bebas tanpa hambatan kepada selebritas yang telah tiada.

Saya memang belum membaca banyak buku Young Adult, tapi buku ini begitu memikat sampai saya tak bisa berhenti membaca.
Laurel yang rapuh diceritakan dari sudut pandangnya sendiri. Betapa ia masih membutuhkan figur May yang ia jadikan panutan, sehingga ketika May tiada, Laurel seperti kehilangan tempat berpijak.

Love Letters to the Dead merupakan novel debut Ava Dellaira.
Novel sederhana yang memuat banyak emosi di dalamnya. Love it to pieces.

Selebritas macam Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland, hingga River Phoenix diikutkan dalam novel ini, membuat saya terhempas ke masa silam untuk beberapa saat.



Until next time


Pic credit: Macmillan Teen

[Book Review] The Riverman by Aaron Starmer


Title: The Riverman
Author: Aaron Starmer
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of Published: 18 March 2014
Format: Ebook
No. of Pages: 340
ISBN: 9780374363109
Category: Fiction
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Received from: the publisher via Netgalley
Link: here
Opening sentence:
Every town has a lost child.


Alistair Cleary is the kid who everyone trusts. Fiona Loomis is not the typical girl next door. Alistair hasn’t really thought of her since they were little kids until she shows up at his doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into the mind of a potentially troubled girl. Fiona says that in her basement, there’s a portal that leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children. And Fiona’s soul could be next. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk. In this novel from Aaron Starmer, it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality.

thoughtsI received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this title because I was mesmerized by the cover, like usual. I just catched a glimpse on the description. I guess it’s just like any other children’s book, but I was wrong.

The Riverman is too gory for children. I don’t think violence, drugs, and a pinch of romance are suitable for 13 year-olds.

This book tells a tale of Alistair who won people’s trust. His early memory is when he saw a dead body of a missing child, Luke, on the river. Nine years later, something strange happened to him when his neighbor, Fiona, knocked on his door and asked him to write a story about her. Alistair frowned, thought the idea was bizarre.
Soon he realized that Fiona did not make up the stories.

She told Alistair that she had a secret passage to the magical world called Aquavania, where the stories are born. Fiona met other children, even crossing to their world and interact with some of the children there.

Strange things happened again. The number of missing children is increasing and Fiona knew some of them in Aquavina. According to Fiona, the Riverman stole the children’s soul and they would never come back to the Solid World.

This book is a page turner. Every chapter is so tensed that I really wanted to finish it in one night, but my eyes wouldn’t compromise.

I really like this book and how each character connects to one another. And there’s love among teens, jealousy, hatred, and misperceptions. We should not judge a person by his looks, which is true.

But I also put big question marks after I reached the laat page. I don’t know what happened to Kyle and Charlie, and Luke’s case is still a mystery. I heard it’s the first installment of a series (I really hope so).

What I like about this book is the setting. It’s the 80s when Choose Your Own Adventure novels were popular. I’m also curious about PB&J. I haven’t tried that one and I have no idea how it tastes like.

The Riverman brought back my childhood memories. Sorry for being a bit sentimental :’)

As an adult, I enjoyed reading this book and I will recommend it to other adults who like stories about children and their big imaginations. I think Neil Gaiman fans will enjoy The Riverman.

Looking forward to reading The Riverman #2.


The best thing I can tell you about a chick who lies a lot is this: there’s probably some messed-up stuff going on in her life (p. 50)

Life will sneak up on you sometimes. (p. 69)

You can’t change your mistakes. You can only try to make up for them. (p. 252)

And sometimes kids have to get up and go. (p. 262)

Sometimes what’s worse than people lying to you is people being too honest. (p. 269)

Creative minds like ours were the minds of aliens. (p. 280)


Until next time ^^