Letters to the Lost – Review

img_0502I’m finally making my way back to my Beat the Backlist Challenge after reading only ARCs for the past several weeks. First up was Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer thanks to my interlibrary loan coming through. I remember seeing many great reviews for this book last year and thinking the blurb sounded like something I would enjoy immensely. Not to mention, one of my blogger friends raves about this book and it only made me want to read it all the more. Her recommendations are always hits for me!


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.

It’s been so long since I’ve loved a YA book that I was sure I was outgrowing the genre and couldn’t possibly enjoy it anymore. Thankfully, Brigid Kemmerer proved me wrong and made me remember the reasons I loved young adult books in the first place. There is something about young, broken characters that completely captivates me as a reader, and the deep, dark conversations between Juliet and Declan drew me in from the start. I loved the letter-writing/email aspect, which allowed these two characters to open up faster than they would have done in person. It was refreshing to experience the connection between Juliet and Declan. This book isn’t what I’d consider a love story, instead, it was about the two characters finding solace in one another through common experiences. Their friendship endeared me to both of them in a way that I realize I’d been missing from many modern YA reads. They weren’t typical hormonal teenagers only wanting in each other’s pants, in fact, there’s really no mention of such things in this story. The attraction the two feel is on a soul-deep level.

One of my favorite things about this book was how easily I was able to imagine Declan, based on his character traits. But most importantly, I loved how the typical high school hierarchy of popularity wasn’t really in play with this story. Declan and Rev were clearly outcasts, but there wasn’t the “I can’t associate with these guys because they’re beneath me” aspect that normally happens in this genre. It wasn’t the most important part of his personality and his social status was implied without having to put it in so many words. I thought it showed a lot of acceptance and was thoughtfully written.

This book is pretty heavy and deals with a full range of topics from death and suicide to abuse and alcoholism, but I think it was handled with the utmost care. It was realistically and honestly conveyed.

I truly appreciated the friendship Rev displayed towards Declan and if I had a copy of More than We Can Say, I’d start it right this second instead of writing a review. I was so happy to learn there would be a spin-off with Rev because he was the character I loved the most from this book. I’m eager to learn more about his past!

I highly recommend Letters to the Lost!

Rating: 5 stars


Purchase on Amazon.


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jo Linsdell says:

    This sounds good, but very intense.


  2. Lovely review. 🙂 I don’t read YA, but this seems like an intense romance book with well-developed characters.


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