Letters to the Lost

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Apr 2017

Member Reviews

2+1/2 As Goodreads states for this rating, it was an OK read. 
I expected a bit more after reading other books from this author. *sigh*

Somehow I did not connect with the grieve or the characters. And it seemed like there were to many threads through the book, and instead of making me feel the emotion they were intended for I was just overwhelmed with all these many things that, after all, were pretty much left hanging. I am not sure if the characters reached any sort of closure (the ending was too quick in a way), I certainly did not. 

Maybe my mood was off, these days there very few books get to grab my attention and fewer even to keep it.
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Loved the writing I could hardly put it down. The story was very captivatingly and made me cry at parts.
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I loved this book. It made me cry in some parts. I loved the message that people make snap judgements of others and make huge assumptions about a person based solely on that snapshot. It only takes a person to speak to them to see how wrong they truly were and how much those assumptions can impact a person. Amazing book.
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Wow. Wow. Wow.
I loved this book so much! 
One thing I loved was that both characters had series deep stuff going on in their lives and only had each other to talk to. 
Through sending each other letters and emails, a friendship soon blossoms. 
But they don't know who each other is until Declan finds out and gets spooked.
He can't keep himself away and they find that they need each other more than anything.
What I liked was that you could see them going so well together and helping each other, but they also have arguments.
This is a story about family, friendships and coming to terms with your life and self and how you can choose the right path to your life.
It was perfect and I found it hard to put down.
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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!
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I was expecting to feel (at the very least) compassion with this story but I felt nothing. I didn't care about any of the characters and had no interest in carrying on past the 30% mark.
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I really loved this book. It almost broke me having to stop reading when I was so close to the end but that's the risk of reading on the tube! The letters between Juliet and Declan are so honest and free, while in real life neither one can bring themself to tell people what's really going on in their minds. It's only to each other that they are able to let their guards down and they both give each other some much needed support.
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One of my favourite reads of 2017! Letters to the Lost is a beautiful but heart wrenching story about grief, labels, friendship, love and acceptance.

What begins as angry letters shared between two people who are deeply hurting, transforms into a touching bond between Juliet and Declan that allows them to voice the thoughts they've never spoken out loud before. It is through their letters that they are able to share their inner-most thoughts and feelings of loss and grief. Both Juliet and Declan were such complex and real characters and this is all thanks to Brigid's exquisite writing style. I've never read a Brigid Kemmerer book that I didn't love. 

The story address a lot of important issues, especially labels and the devastating impact that they can have on someone in everyday life. 

This book took me on an emotional journey: its heartfelt, tragic and hopeful all in one. I highly recommend this book, you wont regret it!
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Juliet writes letters to her mother and leaves them on her grave. One day someone writes back.

Honestly this just felt like your classic YA novel about grief. I didn't make any notes to myself when reading it so clearly I didn't feel like there was anything of note. It was fine. I didn't love it didn't hate it. I will have to say though that even though it's not exactly anything new the writing style really pulls you in and you can't put it down. I think part of what drew me in was that the were writing letters to each other and didn't know who they were writing to and it reminded me of You've Got Mail which is one of my favourite romance films.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Juliet as the main character. Her voice kind of annoyed me and at times she was super self indulgent and had really bad reactions to things, but I had to remind myself that she's a teenager and teenagers are dramatic. I kind of had a soft spot for Declan though he wasn't the greatest guy ever. They were both pretty flawed characters, which of course makes it good writing because they're human.

I think mostly what annoyed me most, and this is a bit spoilery, was that a character finds out who the other is way earlier than the other and then didn't communicate with that person and let them know. So half the novel is just a lack of communication, which is ok if it's only a small part of it but I got pretty frustrated.

The book was well written and I liked reading it but it didn't feel like anything new, it was like I'd read it before. Which is fine for someone who doesn't read a lot of contemporary novels, but I do and it just didn't bring anything memorable to the table. But if you're a fan of You've Got Mail definitely give this one a shot.
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Thank you very much for allowing me to read this title; I am trying to read as widely as possible ahead of the Carnegie/Greenaway nominations and awards for 2018 and your help is much appreciated.
As a Carnegie/Greenaway judge, I'm not allowed to comment about my opinions on specific titles so I can't offer an individual review on any title as I stated on my profile.
Netgalley now requires a star rating so I am giving all titles 5 stars so as not to disadvantage any title but this does not imply any recommendation of the book above any other.
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I love a book about letters or that has letters in it, I find there is something incredibly personal and insightful in a book written this way. The author Brigid Kemmerer, has written a book that has certainly engaged the reader, pulling them in and juggling their hearts around with the occasional feeling of joy and love.

It is heartbreaking to see Juliet writing letters to her mother and leaving them at the grave, there is so much sorrow in that action but something beautiful emerges from it.

Declan, who responds to these letters finds that it is both a cathardic exercise that helps with deep sadness and strangers finding happiness and love.

This book gives the reader insight into the deep pain that comes from grief, no matter what or who you have lost.  I appreciate that the author has explored this topic for YA Fiction and shown that in the very darkest moments in life that there is hope...
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Letters To The Lost is the story of Juliet Young and Declan Murph, two troubled teens devastated by the loss close family members. Unknown to each other, the pair become entwined in an intense and often fiery and thought-provoking letter exchange after a particularly disastrous introduction through private letters left at a graveyard. What follows is an incredibly raw and honest narrative that will pull at your heart strings and leave you wanting more.

I can honestly say that Letters To The Lost is the kind of book that haunts you. In a good way, I promise! The characters and their predicament had me so conflicted while reading the book that I often would find myself contemplating them countless times throughout the day. Even now, some weeks after having read the book, I find myself thinking about them and what they went through.

Initially I was intrigued by the blurb of the book and the letters involved in telling the story. I did worry however about how successful the letter component would be within the story, as I've read countless books that attempted something so ambitious as this narrative, and failed miserably. Thankfully Letters To The Lost is not one of those books. Kemmerer has proven herself time and time again with this narrative in terms of the complexity of the plot, the raw emotional drive and upheaval of both the characters and the readers emotions and the pure beauty of her writing and seamless joining of the letters within the narrative.

I don't want to ruin this books powerful emotional punch by saying too much about the narrative itself, but what I will say is that this book is about so much more than letters and grief. It's about the importance we place of family and friends, the respect we give them and the roles they play in our lives. It's about finding your place in the not-so-sparkly-adult-world and learning who you are with and without all of that (your friends and family). It's a book that explores raw emotions that will both tear you apart and lift you up, all while securing you to the edge of your seat as you race towards the books climax.

Without giving too much away,Letters To The Lost is the kind of book that will have you revaluing your own life choices and how you would react should you be in any one of these characters. It's a book that will challenge you in some regards, but will ultimately reward you with its honesty and heart warming moments that are sprinkled throughout the narrative.

I'm not ashamed to admit that my experiences with this book were violent. I cried, i laughed, I screamed, kicked and even through the book across the room and left it there for a couple of days. But the characters and Kemmerer's words were never far from my mind, nor my emotions, and if that's not the sign of a bloody brilliant read and out of this world writing, I don't know what is.

If you are looking for a quick, happy-go-lucky read than perhaps this isn't the book for you right now. But if you are looking for a more mature Young Adult novel dealing with real and heavy issues, then I highly recommend you pick this one up. Kemmerer's writing is superb and her story is beautifully balanced with gut-wrenching scenes of devastation and sorrow and heart-warming moments of hope, love and friendship.
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Juliet Young leaves letters at her mother's grave, carrying on the tradition they had when her mother travelled around the world to take photographs in war zones. She never expected anyone to reply to one of her letters.
Declan Murphy has also lost someone - his sister - and finds one of Juliet's letters while doing community service mowing the grass at the local cemetery. He writes back, not knowing that by doing so Declan will create an outlet for their grief, and that the two of them will find someone that they can both confide in. The duo also think that they're writing to complete strangers but in fact they go to the same school.
Can Declan make peace with his mother and step-father? 
Will he stop blaming himself for his sister's death?
Will Juliet be able to take up photography again when every time she sees a camera she thinks of her mother?

Letters to the Lost was an emotional, heartfelt read. I wasn't actually expecting it to get to me as much as it did - when I wasn't smiling I was blinking back tears.
I loved the characters in this - Juliet, Declan and Rev especially. They were all compelling, realistic and relatable. None of them were perfect and I really enjoyed reading as they interacted with each other.
The plot was engaging and I couldn't wait to see what would happen when Juliet and Declan realised who they were actually writing to.
The writing style was easy to follow and held my attention from the first page.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read that I would recommend.
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This book almost made me cry! Such a beautiful read, I loved every word 
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I received a copy from Netgalley.

This was a gutwrencher of a book. I could only read it in short spurts because the emotional upheaval was so deep.

The novel tells the story of Juliet and Declan, both of whom are dealing with tough losses, both as results of tragic car accidents. Declan lost his younger sister, Juliet lost her mother.

 Declan appears to be your typical YA bad boy. Darkly good looking, grumpy yet possibly a lot smarter than everyone thinks he is. He’s sullied by a bad reputation. Whereas Juliet is a typical high school good girl. She has a run in with Declan in the halls one morning and accidentally spills her coffee on him running to class. However, when a teacher comes in a finds him moaning about it and yelling at her, he’s the one who’s carted off to detention. 

Juliet has been spending a lot of time at the cemetery where her mother is buried and leaves her letters. Declan has community service with the grounds keeper at the same cemetery and one day he finds the unsigned letter Juliet has left her mother. And responds to it. Leading to a letter writing exchange without names. Where both parties explore their grief and guilt over their own losses and start to talk to each other in a way they can’t open up to anyone else. 

The grief poured into the letters is raw and unflinching, mixing of guilt, anger and responsibility. Juliet and Declan are able to explore feelings they have never admitted to anyone else before, it’s much easier to talk to someone anonymous than admit these feelings their closest friends. The letters eventually become emails. 

Yet in real life whenever Juliet and Declan have run-ins with each other, it’s unpleasant. They rub each other the wrong way. Yet keep finding themselves running into each other. He helps her out several times. And sometimes some of the things anonymous Declan says in his letters resonate deeply with Juliet, particularly when he talks about how unfair it is that with a bad reputation that wasn’t his fault he’s blamed automatically even when things aren’t his fault. This makes her start to try to open up.

Both have tough home situations, Juliet’s dad is trying but kind of absent and checked out. Juliet’s mom was a renowned photographer who was often out of the country in dangerous places. War zones and such. There’s a very hard hitting scene at the front of the book where Juliet’s dad asks her if he can sell her mom’s camera equipment to her mother’s agent, and Juliet falls to pieces. It’s tough to read and absolutely heart breaking. 

While Declan’s mother is equally passive. His father is in jail after the accident that killed Declan’s sister, and his mom has since  gone through a patch of bad relationships and finally married a snotty man who has taken an instant disliking to Declan (bad reputation at fault again) and automatically assumes the worst. They argue a lot and Declan’s mom just won’t step in to defend her son. 

Though Declan doesn’t help himself with an equally pissy attitude. Though it’s clear he loves his mom he’s obviously frustrated by her at the same time. His support system comes from his best friend Rev and his family. Who are all awesome. 

Juliet and Declan keep finding themselves thrown together and start realising who the person they’re writing to might be. Which shocks both of them. But their feelings for each other are growing deeper and deeper despite their equal reluctance to admit the truth and open up to each other for real. Both find themselves dealing with some home truths in their own home lives which shock them to their cores. 

It’s kind of obvious what’s going to happen in the romance department, but even you the way the story is written makes the reader want to get these two together. (Or it certainly did for me).

Beautifully written with some incredible characters. I loved it so much I bought a finished copy as well.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.
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Oh Brigid Kemmerer! How do you make me love you EVEN MORE every time you write a book!?

The Elementals series started my love affair with Brigid Kemmerer - those books are warm, fuzzy, action packed, romantic, heartbreaking and wonderful. And then when I read Thicker Than Water, though I didn't love it as much as the Elementals, I thought okay, okaaay, this is coooool. AND THEN, she goes and writes a contemporary - Letters to the Lost - and it was heartbreaking and romantic, and beautiful. I fell in love with it, and I think everyone should read it.
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*I received this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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. 

Rating: 5/5 stars

I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS!!!

This book was wonderful- it was complex and covered really interesting issues like grief and not judging a book by it’s cover and wow there was a rollercoaster of emotions. 

First off, TWO major plot twists (one turned out not to be true but like the potential of it being true was dynamic as fuck) that were so completely unexpected and just hit me like a punch to the mouth. Secondly, I lovelovelove the format of each chapter starting off with an email before branching out into the rest of the chapter. And alternating perspectives is always a win for me. 
Thirdly, the side characters were all really interesting and full (but can we please get more closure on Rev?) and the teachers were great but i also wanted more from the parents like visit the dad in jail, get your mum and step dad to sort their shit out idk man I just wanted more. 
Fourth, I have massive feels for the two leads, but please god maybe let me live- the ending was a bit too sudden for my liking and yeah sure it ends with them kissing but GOD DAMN if i didn’t want one last chapter with them dating and being adorable and running off into the sunset like for real WOULD THAT HAVE KILLED YOU, KEMMERER. 

As I said, I have a lot of feelings. This just blew me away I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did and I wasn’t expecting what I thought would be fluff to be so complex and credible. I take my hat off to the author. Well done.
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This was a fabulous story, I loved both main characters and how the plot was woven together.  Fantastic ending, and a really enjoyable novel.  Would love to read more by this author.
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This book had everything I love about YA books. While the topic of dealing with death can be life altering to anyone, for it to happen while we as at such a young age like adolescence, it can change you in a deeper level. We feel it in our core reading Juliet and Declin tale of sorrow, frustration, anger and despair. The words on the page when describing their experiences are gripping and heartfelt. Yes tears will be shed, but so will closure and the feeling of hope and rebirth to some promise that one day of your life can not predict all the following days. One bad day does not a life make, but the promise of many happy tomorrows is something we all cling to. Hope. Gorgeous book.
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