Thursday, April 6, 2017

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Bloomsbury

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.
Review by Nara

Letters to the Lost is an incredibly compelling novel. Because the chapters are so short but packed full of information, you get into this perpetual cycle of "just one more" and that makes the book very difficult to put down. You're sitting there just waiting for the inevitable revealing of the secret about who the letter writers are, and the inevitable fallout. I both like and dislike the type of novel where there's this secret that you're in on but some of the characters aren't. Especially when the the power balance is shifted and one of the characters finds out the secret before the other. You're just sitting there all "JUST TELL THEM DAMMIT".

The secondary characters are fantastic, especially Rowan and Rev, the best friends of Juliet and Declan respectively. They're so supportive, but also don't put up with the two protagonists when they make stupid decisions, and call them out on things they think are wrong. I was actually pretty impressed with the teachers in the novel as well- the type of teachers I hope are actually out there, those who are willing to give everyone a shot, even those who are deemed "nonredeemable" by others.

The novel deals with a lot of relevant issues, including grief and domestic violence. These issues are handled well in general, although the one major thing I disliked was that Declan's night where he got drunk and crashed a car into a building was brushed off somewhat.

Overall, a very well written contemporary novel with a fast pace and interesting plot. Recommended to those looking for a read that examines many issues, wrapped up in a shippable romance.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5