(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: More Than We Can Tell
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on April 4th 2017
Genres: Adolescence, Death & Dying, Love & Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.
I haven’t read much from Brigid Kemmerer, but after reading Letters To The Lost, I’m definitely a fan! This book was such an addictive read from start to finish and I found myself doing the “just one more chapter and then I’ll go to bed” bargaining with myself … only I couldn’t stop saying it! The story itself is poignant and emotional but the way it’s told is riveting and enchanting.
Juliet writes letters to the mother she recently lost… a famous photojournalist who was gone more than she was at home. She leaves them at her grave as a way to cope with the loss of this woman who was larger than life and who she admired more than she can put into words. Her grief is overwhelming and she is self-aware enough to know that it’s harming the relationships in her life and even possibly her future. When she returns to her mother’s grave to find someone had read her letter… and left a note on it for her, she’s both stunned and incredibly pissed off.
Declan Murphy is trouble. At least that’s what everyone thinks. On the surface, he’s a guy who got drunk and crashed his vehicle into a building and is now doing court-ordered community service. He’s comes across as angry and violent… and scary. But that’s not who he really is, people just haven’t taken the time to dig deeper. His family was torn apart and he hasn’t coped with it well, and his current home situation is one of the major stressors in his life and then he finds a letter on a grave… and he can’t resist leaving a mark.
Soon enough Declan and Juliet find themselves exchanging letters and opening up with each other in ways that they both find it impossible to do so with the people in their lives. The anonymity is key for them both, and they find that while they are curious who they are talking to, they are afraid that it will ruin the connection and bond that they have found with each other.
As I mentioned above, the way Kemmerer tells the story will have you enthralled. I have read several other stories where it’s told in a similar way, so that’s nothing new, but I think what really hooked me were the layers to this story and the overwhelming emotions. Both Declan and Juliet are hurting and they are dying to share this pain with someone who can understand it, yet neither have that in their real life and where Kemmerer excels here is that she writes in a way that makes the emotions palpable and has her characters jumping off the page and into your heart. I felt and understood the emotions conveyed in this story and the rawness of each of their pain was heartbreaking but so beautifully written.
The eventual romance that emerges from the deep emotional connection these two form was really wonderfully done. There are some incredibly sweet and swoony moments that those who are looking for that bit of romance will absolutely love.
Letters to The Lost isn’t only about two lost souls finding each other… it also explores family and friendship themes. The relationship between Juliet and her father and her best friend are explored deeply and it was so wonderful to see such positive relationships in a YA read. I also loved Rev who is a secondary character who should have his own book in my opinion. (apparently it’s happening! Yay!) The friendship between him and Declan was just so well done, and while these are secondary characters, they are a major part of the story being told.
If you’re looking for a read that will have you invested in the characters and their stories, a read that has amazing relationships and a beautiful story of grief and friendship and family and love you’re going to want to read this one. I’m excited to add a finished copy of this to my bookshelf!
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts!