Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publication Date: April 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There is a beautiful ache I had while I read Letters to the Lost. It was dull and murky, like a memory from a childhood that ended with a friendship breakup or a scarred knee. And I think that’s exactly what the author does so well. Makes you feel.
Juliet Young mourns her fabulous photojournalistic mother after her untimely death. She sits in the cemetery and writes letters that she leaves on her mom’s grave. And one day, someone answers.
Declan Murphy is the bad boy, the one that everyone sees something bad in. He’s hurting and broken and can’t resist writing back to Juliet.
Neither of them knows who the other is. And in real life, they’re far from friends.
Soon the letters develop into something more. It was lovely to read. Organic and real, Letters to the Lost explores the idea of what happens when those you love let you down. And how do you pick yourself back up again and start to trust. I loved Declan’s point of view. He has big feelings and anger and rage and he’s so overwhelmed by emotion, he doesn’t ‘know what to do with it. I really enjoyed Juliet’s vulnerabilities. She is far from perfect. She lashes out too, in different ways than Declan. Both are looking for acceptance, love, companionship. Even if they don’t know it.
The story flows really well, always allowing the characters to come up with their own paths naturally. Each chapter was so good, so necessary. I didn’t want to stop reading. I read during lunch breaks, in the mornings before the baby work, late into the night. It was very enjoyable and satisfying. The ending was supposed to be climatic, but something about it put me off. The whole thing with Juliet’s mom (no spoiler here) I felt like was so dramatic, maybe too dramatic? And I wish the ending had gone a little bit longer, to see how they moved forward. But these are such little things, I can’t say any of them dampened my enjoyment of the story.
Fans of contemporary YA romantic fiction will adore this book.