My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Death
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.
Had they not lost someone important in their lives, Declan and Juliet never would have connected.
But they have, and now they need each other’s support.
LETTERS TO THE LOST held my attention considerably well. Honestly, I thought I was in somewhat of a book slump, before I picked this book up, because I couldn’t bring myself to finish the other books I had started.
But maybe it wasn’t me. Maybe those books in question were the problem. Or maybe Brigid Kemmerer’s new novel saved me. For that, I am extremely grateful.
It’s a dramatic story. Do not pick this up if you want to smile, laugh or swoon. There’s drama throughout the story. It even gets melodramatic in the end, which is something that made me cringe a little.
It’s emotional all the way. A little clichéd here and there, what with Declan’s stepfather being a douche and for the two main characters to interact actively online, while offline they’re avoiding each other.
I believed it. It’s a convincing enough story. It does come off as far-fetched in the beginning, with the exchange of letters, making the hero and heroine think that they are meant to find one another, but as the story progresses, the *situation* becomes less coincidental and more relevant to the plot.
Declan is not someone to whom I really warmed up. He’s fine. He’s a teenager who feels uncomfortable in his own house. Of course he’s going to be defensive and angry, and overall, pretty unpleasant. I understand. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to like the guy. I prefer my heroes less aggressive, verbally as much as physically.
Juliet is a very realistic teenage girl. All the characters are, by the way. It’s not because I didn’t love them that they were bad. I connected with Juliet the most because her grief felt real to me. Part of me felt sorry for her loss, but another part of me admired her strength and willingness to move on, although it proved to be extremely difficult for her. Baby steps.
LETTERS TO THE LOST is a good story, but not the most original one there is.
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