Letters to the Lost is the story of two teens who are struggling to make sense of their lonely, tragic, insensible worlds - Juliet, who has lost her mother, and Declan, who is doing community service as a consequence of a bad choice he's made. When Declan discovers the letter Juliet left at her mother's grave, he is moved to pen a reply. As their exchanges continue and they learn to confide in one another about things that are both raw and real, only one question remains: will finding out who the other person really is break whatever bond is forming between them?
All I really remembered prior to actually reading Letters to the Lost was that it had a premise similar to You've Got Mail (a movie I love!) - two people who start writing letters to one another under pen names, but who actually know each other in real life as well. While that vibe is certainly present in the story, it's not the only thing readers can expect from this book. This is, indeed, a story that includes letters written between two virtual strangers. But this is also, at its heart, a story of grief and guilt, and how people choose to deal with these things. This is a story of how a loss can define one's present situation and foreseeable future. This is a story of how, sometimes, life throws us something unexpected and it gently nudges us towards a new path or a new perspective. This, my friends, is a story that made me think, a story that made me feel. And if you couldn't tell already, I really liked this book!
I honestly can say that the two main characters, Juliet Young and Declan Murphy, were what made Letters to the Lost such a strong read. I fell in love with the two of them - their contemplations and expressions, their flaws and their fears, their stories and their grief and their small triumphs time and time again. It was so compelling to keep learning more about them with each chapter! While I didn't fully connect with either one on an emotional level, I loved watching them grow and change over the course of this story. It didn't hurt that there were quite a few side characters I had fun reading about, including Rev, Rev's mother and father, Mrs. Hillard and Frank Melendez.
The addition of letters at the start of every chapter for an interesting format? Check. Compelling story? Check. Really well-fleshed out characters? Check. Thoughtful contemplation on life and grief and relationships? Check. Plot that sunk its hooks into me and refused to let go until the end? Check. As you can see, Letters to the Lost ticked off quite a few things on the list of what I like to find in my reads. I'm sure it'll come as no surprise that I really enjoyed this novel, and would highly recommend it to other YA contemporary fans.
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: April 4, 2017 (Snag your copy today!)
Source: ARC sent by the publisher (Thanks!)
ABOUT BRIGID KEMMERER: BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons. | Find her online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram
Thanks to the lovely folk over at Bloomsbury, this tour includes a giveaway for one of three finished copies of Letters to the Lost! This giveaway is US only, and you'll enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
3/27: Reading Teen - Review