Have you ever felt that a book is going to destroy you, even before you pick it up?
That’s how I felt with “Letters to the Lost“.
We recently painted a room that was “neglected” in our home. We got a hammock in it, and put up a lot of old family photos, so I was about to read a book that talked about death and loss, with photos of family members I’ve lost in the background… this was not bound to be emotionally good for me. (You can see the photos I’m talking about on the header of this blog post!)
Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing me a copy of the book for review purposes.
This in no way affects my review of the book.
Letters to the Lost
by Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017.
Goodreads Rating: 4.37 stars (1,318 Ratings)
My Rating: 5 stars (⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆)
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 was expecting this book to hit me, but man… WHAT A RIDE! This is a thought provoking story that will have you thinking about friends, family, love and loss.
“We’re all united by grief, and somehow divided by the same thing.”
Declan and Juliet have known each other from school, never talking, never connecting. But somehow, they get closer than they ever expected without knowing. Juliet leaves letters on her mother’s grave, Declan finds them, and unexpectedly… they connect.
The circumstances of how they meet, via letters, allows them to learn about each other, without knowing who the other really is. I really love the idea of a romance developing without the characters knowing each other’s identities. (In real life I would probably meet a 40 year old creep that way, but lets not think about that in here.) While the romance isn’t the main part of the story, it is one of the main things that had me hooked to the book.
The book has a VERY serious tone. It’s a painful story, where both characters deal with loss and grief in their own ways. Although the book is Young Adult (just like the characters), the serious nature of everything that’s going on, makes it feel more on the New Adult side of literature, which is something I really enjoyed (as a 23 year old).
Juliet is struggling in a world without her mother. Declan is struggling in a world without his father and his sister. They both address a lot of pain and loss in their letters. They talk about love, friendship, betrayal, grief, and many other important topics of their lives. Juliet is trying to move forward from the guilt of her mother’s death. Declan is trying to move forward from a terrible accident, and the labels society and his family have put on him.
Their letters and messages remain anonymous, which allows them to be free and open up without judgement or labels. From this point forward… I cannot address more from the book without spoiling something, so let’s just say that this story, while being sad and full of grief, also has hope and happiness.
“Do you believe in fate? Sometimes I want to. I want to believe that we all walk some path toward… something, and our paths intertwine for a reason. Like this, the way we’ve found each other. The way you told me the right story when I so desperately needed to hear it.”
Overall rating; 5 stars