Category Archives: YALLWEST

Love Letters to the Dead

Love lettersGorgeous.

When author Ava Dellaira was a panelist at YALLWEST 2015 (see earlier posts), she was asked what her debut novel was about. She modestly said something along the lines of, “It’s about a girl whose sister dies and she begins to write letters to dead people.”

The opening missive in Love Letters to the Dead is to Kurt Cobain, the mysteriously deceased older sister’s favorite musician. Each letter to Judy Garland, River Phoenix, Janis Joplin, Allan Lane (voice of Mr. Ed), among others reveals younger sister Laurel’s guilt, anger, abandonment, and emotional metamorphosis as she shares the events leading up to a tragic night that tore her family apart.

The book reads like a diary that’s been left in plain sight with the invitation to read. Maybe that’s why previous readers had underlined favorite passages and scrawled “Fave Page” on numerous pages in my public library copy. Every passage in the final chapters of this book was emotive and indelible. My favorite passage: There’s a new sadness now, as I open my fist I’ve been clenching shut and realize that there’s nothing there. I don’t know how to keep her.”

Please read this book before its adaption appears in theaters.

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YALLWEST Beat Expectations!

TheYallWest April 11-12 YALLWEST festival for YA authors and readers was amazing and beat all attendance expectations–with possibly 8,000 in attendance at this two-day fest at Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica Public Library. The energy was high on day two at the smaller venue, Santa Monica Public Library, and the action spilled onto the sidewalks (as evidenced in the photo), plus the special sessions were standing room only.  Organizers are coy about the potential for a YALLWEST 2016, but keep your ear to the ground. After years (decades?) of neglect, the YA genre is thriving and coming of age!

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