Thursday, May 11, 2017

Review: Letters to the Lost

Letters to the Lost
By Brigid Kemmerer
Published: April 4, 2017

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.

My review:

Letters to the Lost is a story about two teens who are deeply grieving and find a way to reach out to each other through anonymous letters and later through anonymous email. In real life however Juliet and Declan are not friends. In fact, Juliet feels nothing but disdain for the cocky troublemaker. Declan sees Juliet as spoiled and privileged. He has no idea of the pain she is going through the same way that she can't see his hidden depth. Of course they will somehow find out the truth about who they've been writing to all along...

Juliet has really been struggling since her mom died. Her mom was a talented and adventurous photojournalist and while Juliet has a gift for photography, she hasn't been able to pick up a camera since her mom died. She feels her skills are so meaningless compared to what her mom achieved. Since her mother's death, Juliet and her dad have been living like two strangers in the same home and even though her best friend Rowan tries to be supportive, Juliet feels like she can't be honest about her continuing grief.

Declan lost his younger sister in an accident he blames himself for. His family fell apart that day and things have only gotten worse now that his mom is remarried. He does not get along with his stepfather and on top of that he has to do court ordered community service. Rage, grief and guilt simmer below the surface in equal measure. Declan wants to do better but it is really hard. Things starts to feel a little better when he answers a letter he finds on a tombstone.

I thought this book was fantastic. The author does a good job of exploring grief, guilt and family relationships as well as friendship. A variety of families are represented in the book from the dysfunctional family of Declan to the fractured family of Juliet and the stable and loving families of Declan's supervisor and Rev's adoptive parents. It is nice to see some positive portrayals of parents along with the imperfect ones in this novel. The main characters are well developed and I loved the growth of their relationship with each other. The secondary characters are also well drawn, especially Rev. I liked how the book challenged the assumptions of the characters as well as the reader. 

Letters to the Lost is likely going to be one of my favorite YA books of 2017. It would be a good pick for fans of authors like Jessi Kirby and Morgan Matson.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley.


  1. I also really liked this book too. I loved how Declan and Juliet's relationship slowly progressed. I was afraid we would lose that connection once they found out about each other. The book is also likely to be on my favorite list of 2017 too.

  2. Yay! So glad you liked this. I also thought it was awesome and one of my favorite books of the year as well. Did you hear Rev will have his own spin-off? I am excited for that! Fantastic review, Christina!


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