Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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.
Okay I am just going to say this right off the bat…this book was INCREDIBLE! I don’t know if I am going to be able to put into words how much I loved it, but I am going to try!
In Letters to the Lost we follow Juliet who recently lost her mother in a car accident. Writing letters to each other was something special they did. Even though her mom has passed, she still writes to her frequently and leaves the letters on the gravestone. While doing community service at the cemetery, Declan finds one of the letters and decides to respond to it…
Letters to the Lost heavily deals with grief, guilt and anger. I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this was to read at times. The characters pain felt unbelievably realistic. It was heartbreaking. There were definitely a couple times when I had to put the book down because I needed a breather. It gets pretty dark not going to lie.
This book has an anonymous friendship going on, which is something I really enjoy. Juliet and Declan were able to be really honest with each other through the letters and emails. There were no preconceived notions so the two could be vulnerable in a way they have never been before.
I loved that the characters had a hobby that they were really good at. Juliet had photography and Declan had cars. Though both of these things had a sad history behind them, I think they could still use them to get away from their troubles for a bit.
Declan & Juliet’s best friends were the absolute best! I love seeing a good healthy friendship in a YA book! Rowan understood that Juliet was going through a rough time. She was supportive & helped give Juliet the little push she needed to get things back on track. Then there was Declan’s best friend Rev…oh my gosh what an angel! He was ALWAYS there for Declan, no matter what. They have such a special friendship. I’m excited to learn more about Rev in the companion to this book!
I really loved the relationship that the main characters had with their teachers. Declan’s English teacher & Juliet’s photography teacher knew what their students were capable of & they gave them the support they needed to reach their full potential. It was wonderful.
There are so many lessons to learn from this book. To me, the biggest one is not to judge someone based off what you hear. Declan was constantly being misjudged. People had heard stories about his past and they assumed he was just a criminal. No one tries to get to know the real Declan. In real life this is something that happens every single day. No one deserves to be treated the way that Declan was.
All in all, I loved this book. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. Brigid Kemmerer has quickly become one of my auto-read authors. I’m looking forward to picking up her other books!