Dellaria tells the story of Laurel’s journey from the death of her sister and the breakup of her family to emotional healing in a most unusual way. Laurel writes letters to famous dead people in her journal. This began as an English class writing assignment. The point was to have the students write to a famous dead person about what effect their lives had had on them. Laurel begins writing but never turns in the assignment. She, instead, begins to write more and more letters to her “pen pals.” She feels she cannot share the letters even though not doing so affects her grade in the class.
The people to whom she writes are very diverse: Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Jim Morrison, and John Keats. Each of these people had died a very tragic death or had suffered from some tragic events in their lives. Laurel’s letters to the dead gradually reveals to the reader what really happened the night her sister died.
This is a fantastic story told in a most unusual manner. I think teen readers will enjoy it, and I know they will learn more about the people to whom Laurel writes. I recommend this for libraries that service middle school to high school readers.