Title: LETTERS TO THE LOST
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Release date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook
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.
NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received by the publicity agency via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.
LETTERS TO THE LOST is an incredibly moving, beautifully written, and intensely emotional story that promises to put every reader’s heart through the wringer. It is a story of grief, anger, love, loss, and loneliness that is both extremely fragile and immensely powerful. It is poignant. It is tragic. It is devastatingly heartbreaking. It is the must read book of 2017.
Juliet was not ready to say goodbye to her mother, even though it seemed everyone thought it was time she did. She idolized her mom. She missed her terribly. And she blamed herself for her mother’s death.
She couldn’t be the friend she used to be. She couldn’t do the things she used to. All she had was her pain and the connection she had with her mom through the letters she wrote and left at her gravesite.
Declan was angry all the time. He couldn’t stand the fact that his mother remarried and he despised the man she was married to. He hated being judged by people that didn’t even know him. And he detested his court-ordered community service.
His dad may be the one in prison, but he was just as responsible for what happened to his sister and he was being tormented by the guilt. His best friend couldn’t understand what he was going through and his mother didn’t seem to care. But when he reads a letter that had been left on a grave, he thinks he might have found someone who does.
Brigid Kemmerer has done an exceptional job of creating empathetic and relatable characters whose anguish can be felt and understood. Juliet and Declan are both so very lost and can’t find a way through their pain. They both blame themselves for their losses and are riddled with guilt. They are barely coping. They can’t accept their new realities. And alone they aren’t strong enough to fix what’s broken in themselves. But together, through their letters, they might be.
LETTERS TO THE LOST is a love story. But first and foremost it’s a story about letting go, about trust, about asking for help, about being brave enough to find and face the truth, and about having the courage to go on living.
It is tough and messy and one heck of an emotional rollercoaster. It is heartrending and courageous and brilliantly executed. It’s an exquisite and riveting and deeply affecting read that will be instantly likable and unputdownable.
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
About Brigid Kemmerer
BRIGID KEMMERER is the author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.