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Dead Girls Don't Write Letters (Single Titles) Hardcover – January 23, 2003

4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-Sunny's older sister has been presumed dead for several months when Sunny receives a letter from Jazz explaining that she was away working in a repertory theater when her apartment burned to the ground. Then Jazz, or Not-Jazz as Sunny calls her, returns home. Her mother has become addicted to sleeping pills and Dad has fallen back into the bottle since his daughter's "death." Sunny and her father soon realize that the young woman is indeed not Jazz, even though she knows a great deal about their family history and secrets. As Sunny investigates, she begins to discover who this imposter is and how she knows so much about their family. This novel is not of the same quality as Giles's Shattering Glass (Roaring Brook, 2002), and the ending is truly a bolt from the blue. Readers' reactions may range from shock to frustration to confusion to anger that they've invested time in this book. The plot is intriguing, but the ending is just too unclear.
Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. In Shattering Glass (2002), Giles gave readers a huge surprise at the book's beginning. Here a major twist, one of several, comes at the end, though it raises more questions than it answers. Ninth-grader Sunny is not entirely sad about the death of her 18-year-old sister in a New York apartment fire. Jazz's perfection has been a thorn to Sunny, but it was all that sustained their depressive mother and alcoholic father. Her death has pushed both parents over the edge. Then one day, a letter from Jazz arrives, and soon after, Jazz herself returns, claiming she was away and only recently learned about the fire. But this girl isn't really Jazz, though she does resemble her and seems to know enough about her to assume her life. Both Sunny and her father realize the truth; Mother seems not to. For a while, though, everyone is willing to have Jazz alive. This is a page-turner with sharp dialogue and psychologically intriguing viewpoints. Readers are continually kept off balance as Jazz and her motives change like shapes in a fun-house mirror. But when Sunny asks her final question, "What have I done?" readers might wish for a clearer answer. - Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Series: Single Titles
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1st edition (January 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761317279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761317272
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,850,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gail Giles' DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS has a great opening line: "Things had been getting a little better until I got a letter from my dead sister." It's like Frito Lays after that -- bet you can't read just one (sentence, that is). No, you have to find out HOW her sister died and, for that matter, how her sister found stationery in the Other World.

The protagonist, Sunny, has a beguiling, 1st-person voice. She's the classic second fiddle to a now-dead (now not) older sister named Jasmine ("Jazz") whom her parents loved more than her. How can you NOT cheer for Sunny? Especially when her mother's a sleeping-pilled mess, her father's a boozing wreck, and her dead sister ("Not Jazz," as Sunny calls her) won't stay in the grave.

So you're off to the races -- and the race is only 130-odd pages. Plot vaults you forward, with all manners of ups and downs. Then come the twists. And toward the end of the ride, more twists than a roller coaster has a right to have.

A fun book and a quick read, DEAD GIRLS has only one strike against it... the old believability thing. By the end, you might feel like your chain's been yanked one too many times. Thus, the loss of a star. But still, I'd read her (Giles) again. This was my first. Overall, if you're a fan of plot books, jump in. I think you'll enjoy the ride (and might even get back in line for another).
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Format: Hardcover
You know that DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS will be a page-turner from the initial hook. "Things had been getting a little better until I got a letter from my dead sister," says the 14-year old narrator, Sunny Reynolds.

Sunny's older sister, Jazz, has presumably died in a fire in New York City, although her remains are never found. Soon after they receive the tragic news, Sunny's family begins to unravel. Her mother becomes severely depressed and her father starts drinking heavily. The family, already torn apart by divorce, becomes even more dysfunctional.

Sunny is the only one in the family who is not upset by the loss of her sister; she had been living in Jazz's shadow her entire life. So when a letter from Jazz arrives in the mailbox, announcing that she will be returning home soon, Sunny does not share in her parents' excitement.

The girl who arrives at the house is not Jazz, but an imposter. Sunny and her father quickly realize the truth, but Sunny's mother wants desperately to believe that Jazz is alive. The tension is heightened when Sunny matches wits with the imposter. However, the plot suddenly twists and turns in unexpected directions and the story is wrapped up too quickly, leaving me to question what really happened.

DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS is a psychological thriller that will cause readers to analyze the ambiguous ending and reach their own conclusion.

--- Reviewed by Renee Kirchner (renee.kirchner@usa.net)
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Format: Hardcover
WOW! Dead girls Dont Write Letters is a great book. i reccomend this book to someone whos into mystery and suspense would love this book.I liked this book because its was very interesting. Also i didnt want to put this book down. This book is so full of deatail and i didnt get lost at all but it was a little confusing because it is so wierd the vents that happen.

I really liked the ending of this book because it kindof wrapped the whole story up and like explained it. But this book for me left me on a cliff hanger. But if your not the type whos interested into non-fiction i wouldnt read this.
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Format: Paperback
I'm reading a novel called Dead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles. I really enjoyed this novel so far because it's kind of like a ghost mystery...and I think that's a neat way to express the book. In this novel, Sunny has a hard life to face now that her sister, Jazz is gone. This book takes place in the present day and refers to the horrific death of Jazz. Jazz was killed in an apartment fire in New York where she lived. The only thing is that it's been 4 months and all of a sudden Sunny and her family receive a letter in the mail from Jazz. How can that be? She's dead. Or is she? Sunny lives with her mother in a farmhouse in Texas. But the letter wasn't the only strange thing...a few weeks later someone shows up at their home...is it Jazz?

Sunny is the main character that's around the age of 15. Right now things are tuff for her because she's having a hard time coping with the loss of Jazz. Sunny is a little lost and confused by the cause of her sister's death. Now she's determined to find out what happened and who did it. Sunny also becomes sort of attached to this stranger who comes to her house...and later when reality hits her she tells herself that all of her thought processing at first glance is false. Right now, for Sunny, her life is all confusing and fuzzy to her, and far from reality. Or what it should be.

"From a distance she looked like Jazz. But the face was all wrong. She was prettier than Jazz, her skin a little softer, her lashes a little longer and darker. Jazz was pretty; this girl was stunning. Her face held a hint of vulnerability that my sister's never had. Reaching out, Not Jazz took mom's hands in her own pressing them to her cheeks, " (Page:33) After being away for so long I never notice the details I should about people.
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