Letters To The Lost was a pocketful of heartbreak and heartwarming surprises.
I really loved the author’s other book Thicker Than Water, but I didn’t expect to fall sooooo wholly in love with Letters To the Lost!! PEOPLES, THIS BOOK IS PHENOMENAL. It’s sad and it’s sweet and the characters are so dimensional and complex and real. Except the book was also rudely inconvenient because I didn’t want to put it down and BOOM, there went my weekend in a heartbeat. * The pages just flew past, with me feeling all the things which seems like a health hazard to my emotions.
Yet regrets = I have none.
* DO I LOOK SORRY? I AM SO NOT SORRY ABOUT THIS AT ALL. THIS BOOK CAN STEAL MY TIME WHENEVER IT PLEASES.
- IT FEATURES LETTERS. Which I adore because I’m a writing person myself. I think it’s easier to communicate through writing so, #relatable. HOWEVER, the book isn’t told in epistolary format!! There’s just a letter before each chapter.
- IT FOCUSES ON FRIENDSHIP. Particularly anonymous friendships. Juliet and Declan knew they went to the same school and were the same age but THAT WAS IT. And I feel like that’s how it is with internet friends a bit?!? I LOVED THAT. They learned the deep and vulnerable things about each other and they weren’t hindered by pre-conceived prejudice or judgement. It was so simple and pure and sweet. Until obviously it gets ALL MESSY and aghhhh. My bleeding heart.
- ALSO THEY HAVE EPIC BFFS. Hellooooo my favourite thing. Declan and Juliet are both rather self-destructive littel orbs, but they have the best and most epic friends who are 500% there for them. Declan’s best friend, Rev, comes from an abused home and is now adopted but he has a bucket load of PTSD…and he’s also the sweetest kindest boy who ever existed and I just about started SHOUTING WITH JOY FROM THE ROOFTOPS when I found out he’s getting his own spin off book in 2018!!!! And Juliet has a lovely friend called Rowan who doesn’t let her have panic attacks alone and will forcibly pull her out of depressive episodes with delicious food and hugs. #WomenPowerGoals The emphasis on good, healthy friendships makes the book so so perfect.
- IT’S ALSO VERY MUCH ABOUT GRIEF. And losing family members…so it’s the opposite of a light fluffy book. I did find Juliet’s attitude through her grief to be super irritating. She’s very self-righteous and judgemental. Declan is aggressive and puts on all the “bad delinquent boy” vibes with his criminal record and his terrible attitude at school. But inside they’re both breaking with grief, blame, and anxiety. I can’t even express how well it was written and how I loved them both in the end. They’re intensely flawed characters, and they grow so so much throughout the book.
- I ALSO LOVE HOW IT DIDN’T FEATURE ROMANCE. It skips the cliche where they fall in love without knowing each other (THANK GOODNESS) and it focues on (A) healing, and (B) friendship, and (C) letting go. The book is about dealing with grief and it doesn’t cheapen that with making romance cure everything. Buuut they are absolutely crushing on each other and I SHIP IT.
- ALSO THE MESSAGES WERE SO IMPORTANT?!? It talks about judging and not to assume you know people. You never eeeeever do. This part was just so on point I can’t even express how much I loved it. #IMPRESSED Juliet is unnecessarily cruel to Declan at school (she doesn’t know he’s her anonymous writing buddy) but she later gets called out. Just because someone is “known” to be a delinquent, does it make it right for you to bully them??? Do people just see what they want when it comes to the “losers”??? Do you even give people a chance once you’ve made up your mind about them? You never never never know the whole story so DON’T treat people like you do.
- CHARACTERS WERE, OBVIOUSLY, A+. I loved my sad broken fragile child of Declan whose home life sucks and he feels he doesn’t even deserve to be loved. His sister is dead. Dad in prison. Declan blames himself. Also he’s epic with fixing cars and engines and I actually learnt stuff about cars while reading this! For instance, they have an engine. And I love how Juliet does photography and her relationship with her amazing dad and how she challenges herself to keep going. <3
- AND THE WRITING IS JUST EXQUISITE. Did I mention I was glued to the page?!??? Everything was just so real and complex, and even the secondary characters were immensely dimensional. I wanted ANSWERS but I didn’t want it to end because I loved Declan and Juliet so much. The pacing was perfection, the emotion was brilliantly portrayed, and just UGH THIS BOOK IS PERFECT. I CAN’T.
Basically I’m just going to gush my liver out here proclaiming how good this book is.
It totally took me by surprise because I’m not usually a contemporary fan, but I adore it. Heartfelt and tragic and bittersweet and also hopeful.
Just go read it, fiends.
THANK YOU TO BLOOMSBURY FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer was published April, 2017.
Juliet Young has always written 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 of them knows that they’re not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.
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