Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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.

Recently, I saw a lot of buzz about this book. I knew it would be a heavy read and I wasn’t really in the mood for anything heavy. Maybe that’s why I was underwhelmed by the book when I did read it.

Juliet lost her mother in a car accident. She’s a teenager dealing with the loss of the person she was closest to and who she considered to be her hero. Declan is another teenager dealing with the aftermath of an accident and his own mistakes. Both of them have emotional baggage and come to depend on each other through letters without knowing each other’s identities.

The plot was good but it lacked freshenss. I mean, this is not the first book that has it’s protagonists getting close through mail or letters anonymously and yet hating each other in real life. And then you’ve got your misunderstood outcasts, stepfather being a jerk, ignorant parents. Cliches after cliches. Now, I love cliches as much as the next person. I really do. It’s just the execution of those cliches that left a lot to be desired.

I did enjoy the middle parts where Juliet and Declan interact more in real life and the push and pull they play with the reveal of their identities. That was well done. I also liked the message about how we tend to judge others based on appearances and impressions we get about them through what we hear in the grapevine.

Maybe the problem was me. Because I saw a lot of people talk about feeling emotional after reading the book. Was I the only one who didn’t feel any emotional connection with the book?

Even the conclusion felt lazy to me. I found the resolution at the end with their families to be too facile and unconvincingly simplified. Especially Declan’s family. I wished to see more of his mother. We hear about her redemption but we don’t see it. I also wanted to see more of Juliet’s dad.

Although the book claimed to be a contemporary romance, there was little to no romance in it. Not that the lack of a romance is a problem, but I hate it when books don’t fit into the genres they claim.

I liked the book. I didn’t love it like so many others did. Maybe it’s a problem with me more than the book. So feel free to check it out.

I see that there is a sequel planned for Rev, one of my more favorite parts of the book. So I might even check the sequel out just for Rev!


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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