Letters to the lost. By Brigid Kemmerer.
Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother.
Even after her mother’s death she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only thing that helps Juliet cope.
Declan Murphy is the kind of tough guy you wouldn’t want to cross. But while on community service doing landscaping at the local cemetery, he is haunted by ghosts of his own past.
When Declan finds a letter left beside a grave he can’t resist writing back. Soon he is sharing his pain with a total stranger…Except they’re not strangers, and when real life interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover secrets that might tear them apart.
I bought this book because I’m in a bit of a reading slump, life is a little hard right now and I’ve been struggling to get into any of the huge pile of books I have.
When this happens there’s a sure fire way to break the back of the slump, I turn to young adult books.
I don’t know what it is about the genre that really does it for me, I think perhaps it’s that the protagonists are more often than not, mixed up teens, feeling lost and perhaps hopeless, and even as a fully grown adult that’s something I can still relate to.
I don’t actually want to say too much about the actual story (some of the reviews I’ve read are just huge spoilers) because it’s one that deserves to tell itself. But Letters to the lost is much more than a love story (a beautiful one, at that). It’s a story about grief, misconceptions and wanting to find acceptance.
The two leading protagonists, Juliet and Declan, shine equally throughout this dual perspective story. A great amount of depth is given to each of them. If I was pushed to choose, though, I’d say that Declan stood out the most. His is the character that undergoes the most growth.
The other stand out character is Rev, despite being weighted down by demons of his own he is an unwavering support for Declan. I love the conversations between the two.
I believe Rev will be getting his own, well deserved book, which I’ll be looking out for.
Other minor characters actually play a large part in the story.
The English teacher who sees Declan as more than just a difficult teen, the photography teacher who encourages Juliet to pick up a camera again, and Frank, who supervises Declan’s community service.
I particularly liked the way we saw the relationship between Juliet and Declan develop in two different ways. It really struck a chord with me about how we judge people by our own preconceived ideas, strip away the opportunity to have those ideas and we see a person in a completely different light.
This book frustrated me at times. I wanted to shout Tell her again and again, but overall Letters to the lost took my breath away. I had to read it in one sitting because I needed to see it play out all at once.
I’m giving Letters to the lost five well earned stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. I wholeheartedly recommend reading it.
Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s young adult, or that it’s one of the Zoella book club books, I’ve actually enjoyed all the books I’ve read from the book club so far, and have been pleased to see some books I’ve previously enjoyed make the list. Whether you’re familiar with Zoella or not, whatever your ideas about her, I think the book club is an excellent thing because anything that encourages young people to read should, in my book, be commended.