Twins Ava and Zelda (named for the first and last letters of the alphabet) have always had a strong and tumultuous relationship. When “good-girl” Ava gets fed up with Zelda’s antics and their mother’s deteriorating physical and mental state, she impulsively moves to Paris and begins a Phd in Comparative Literature. Breaking away from her family and their failing wine business soon proves too difficult. Ava’s mother notifies her that Zelda has died in an accidental fire that occurred in a barn on their property. But Ava is familiar with Zelda’s schemes, and the death seems eerily planned. Soon, emails from her “dead” sister begin appearing on her phone, giving her a list of clues to follow that are organized alphabetically. As Ava follows the clues, she learns the secrets that Zelda and the rest of her family have been hiding. Ava also begins to question her own “innocent” identity and whether she is actually any different from the rebellious and bohemian Zelda.
What I liked:
Dead Letters is well-written and suspenseful. It withholds information and its ending defies readers’ expectations. For me, Dead Letters was a quick read that completely held my attention. Though I don’t want to give anything away, I really enjoyed the ending as it was surprisingly insightful.
What I didn’t like:
Almost none of the characters are likable. Usually, characters don’t need to be likable for a book to be good, but in this case it felt detrimental. Ava, the main character of the novel, is manipulative, critical, and selfish. However, her parents similar behavior partially explains her personality. Also, the emails and messages written by Zelda after she “dies” are, well…cheesy. They are over-the-top and embellished. Basically, after reading them, I thought “no one actually talks like this”.
I give Dead Letters 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is well-written and suspenseful, with a satisfying conclusion. However, it is at times ridiculous, and many of the characters are selfish and unlikable.
Thanks for reading! If you read Dead Letters, tell me what you thought about it in the comments!