Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: 6th April 2017
Format: eBook ARC
Note: This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
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.
What I Thought:
Letters to the Lost is a beautiful book that deals with grief but also judgement, the way we have a habit of writing people off based on outward appearances and assumptions.
Juliet is dealing with the death of her mother, a world renowned photographer, who survived weeks and months in war zones but was killed in a hit and run on her way home from an assignment. Whenever her mother was on assignments Juliet would send her letters, she has continued writing to her mum as a way of dealing with her grief, leaving the letters on her gravestone. One day she finds someone has found one of her letters and replied, at first outraged that someone has intruded on her grief she ends up regularly corresponding with her anonymous friend The Dark. What Juliet, or Cemetery Girl, doesn’t realise is that her anonymous friend is Declan Murphy, the school misfit.
Declan is one of my favourite parts of the book, in particular the character development we see as the story progresses. While Declan first appears to be an angry young man, a troublemaker who is currently on probation for taking a car and crashing into a wall, we gradually learn more about him, and his past, some of the things that have happened and the reasons he presents the front that he does.
I really enjoyed the relationship that developed between Juliet and Declan, to me it felt very believable, the way they gradually opened up to one another before the difficulties of knowing one another in ‘real’ life interfered. But for me the star relationship was the one between Declan and Rev, Rev is another misunderstood character, people look at him and assume one thing which is not necessarily accurate. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed seeing two males who were there to support one another. I want more Declan and Rev!
During the book Juliet is dealing with the death of her mother, and the unanswered questions that remain following the accident, she also has to deal with her beliefs and opinions of people being challenged and broken, both at school and at home.
I think the book also teaches an important point about appearances and the way we treat others based on them. The way we seem to think if a person appears ‘tough’ or ‘mean’ it’s some how okay to pick on them, that they some how deserve it or that it’s alright because they’re tough and they can take it. Declan points this out to Juliet
“You know what sucks? If you pick on someone weak at school, you end up suspended.”
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“No. But people can say whatever they want to a guy with a reputation, and no one cares. People actually root for it.”
I think it’s a really important message as I’m just as guilty as anyone at jumping to conclusions, based on how people appear outwardly, despite the fact I know that my public face doesn’t really match how I feel, people often think I’m a lot more confident than I am.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! I absolutely adored this book, and the characters in it. I loved the characters and I feel like it dealt with some important issues without coming across as ‘preachy’. I’ll certainly be on the look out for the next book from Brigid!