The debut novel of Ava Dellaira, “Love Letters” finds a high-school girl named Laurel writing an epistle to Kurt Cobain for a school project. Laurel then fills a notebook with similar letters — to Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart and Heath Ledger — that helps her figure out what she wants out of life and express the abuse she’s suffered, as well as the grief for her dead older sister. Through these “love letters,” Laurel comes to grips with the truth about her sibling.
Dellaira will adapt the screenplay. In an interview with Buzzfeed last year, the author explained how she came up with the unique premise for her novel: “I came up with the title and I knew that I wanted it to be letters to famous dead musicians and actors, kind of as a way of dealing with personal grief. I’ve always been interested in pop culture and the way that can provide a sense of belonging. Especially for people sometimes who might feel isolated otherwise or going through difficult things. I always think about that feeling of listening to an amazing song and feeling like it was written just for you; it makes you feel so connected to the bigger world because you know that there are all of these other people out there listening to that same song at that same time.”
She added, “I had lost my mom a couple years before I started writing the book. She died suddenly and I was still very much recovering from that while I was working on the book, and I think as Laurel’s letters helped her to heal, writing the book did the same for me.”