A high school girl writes letters to dead artists to deal with the death of her older sister. Laurel is new to high school and doesn't want anyone knowing about her dead sister, May. After a teacher assigns her students to write a letter to a deceased person, Laurel finds the exercise is the only outlet for her to express her feelings about May's death and the role she played in it. She writes to Kurt Cobain and Janic Joplin (among many others), relating her emotional turmoil to theirs. She gets wrapped up in the excitement of having a social life for the first time. She goes to parties, gets drunk, and often finds herself in the crossfire of her friends' secret lesbian relationship. She begins dating her crush, Skye, and tries desperately to be everything he wants, but fails. Skye breaks up with Laurel because he can't deal with her depression and instability, and begins dating another girl. After she tries to party away her problems, she almost gets raped. Skye rescues her and brings her home, but not before she accidentally reveals to half the high school her friends' secret. As the letters continue she begins to reveal how she was repeatedly molested by a guy May trusted to babysit her. She told May about it the night she died. Skye surprises her by admitting he knew May well and fears Laurel is too much like her. Once she acknowledges the guilt she feels for May's death, she is able to be honest with Skye and her friends and make amends.
Best part of story, including ending:
It has a unique and refreshing ability to incorporate and relate the lives of artists to a typical high school girl.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when Laurel walks in on her two best friends kissing for the first time. It was a scenario many can relate to: getting drunk off stolen liquor and frolicking in the backyard of your friend's parents house. They were on the trampoline and when her friends noticed her, she panicked and tried to run but they stopped her and demanded she partake because it was only fair.
Opinion about the main character:
What I like about Laurel is that she is relate-able and insightful; she leaves the boring parts out and only leaves you with the dirty details you want to know. But what I don't like about her is you will often want to grab her by the shoulders, tell her to pull herself together, and talk to a professional.