I received this book for free from Publisher at ALA Midwinter in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publisher at ALA Midwinter
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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.
Characters anonymously writing notes to each other and finding love? Definitely a theme I have read and enjoyed before but Letters to the Lost took this theme to the next level – so heartfelt, touching, and downright unforgettable!
Both Juliet and Declan are grieving over the deaths of people close to them and handling it in different ways. Juliet writes letters to her mother and leaves them on her gravestone. Declan allows anger and guilt to consume him, often pushing away anyone who comes close. But when these two connect anonymously through letters and emails, they find they are not alone and in each other they find solace and someone to help inspire them to heal. But in person they are classmates who don’t get along.
This is absolutely a character driven story. We really get a chance to dive into these characters, into their stories and the emotional turmoil they are experiencing. Juliet is quite fragile and heartbroken and probably exactly how I would be in the same situation. She was written with so many real and raw emotions that I couldn’t help but connect with her and feel for her situation. She is hanging under a cloud of despair and guilt, feeling as though she is in someway responsible for what has happened to her family. Guilt is something Declan was experiencing as well though he let his grief manifest into anger, anger at everyone. These are two people who seemingly would have nothing to do with each other outside of the letters but I loved seeing them connect outside of them as well. The characters are so well done and written with so much heart. I ached for them in their times of grief and smiles for any victory they achieved through their journey of healing. Even Rev, Declan’s best friend who also has a tragic past of his own, was unforgettable and someone I needed to know more about (he is getting his own book!).
I stayed up incredibly late at night to finish this book because I could absolutely not put it down. I was so invested and when I finished I was in awe of the story I just read. This was my first Brigid Kemmerer novel (WHAT?!) and it absolutely will not be the last! She has a talent for capturing such captivating and compelling characters and creating a plot so moving and brilliant. This is definitely not a book to miss!