Brigid Kemmerer’s Letters to the Lost is a letter to us all


United By Pop received a free copy of Letters to the Lost in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.

Titles: Letters to the Lost

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US

Overall rating: 3/5

Great for: Fans of Sara Barnard, Jennifer Niven and Nicola Yoon

Themes: Contemporary, romance, grief, troubled teens, mental health, family dynamics and young adult.

Review: Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother as she traversed the world becoming known as a renowned, poignant and obscure photographer. Even after her mother’s death, she finds it hard to relieve herself of this habit. Distanced from her father and friends by grief, she continues to leave letters by her grave. Never did she imagine she would get an answer…

The response came in the form of Declan Murphy, who leaves two little words in return to her outpourings of emotion: ‘me too’. Declan is the ‘bad kid’ at school that Juliet would never think to speak to, yet their anonymity to each other allows them to form a bond from their shared sorrow.

Just from the synopsis, I knew this was going to be an emotional read… and I wasn’t wrong. Juliet’s grief and Declan’s anger become palpable things that haunted both their lives and the trajectory of the plot. They become owned by their emotions and unable to see past their own feelings. This is what, however, allowed them to become pen-pals of heartache. Their circumstances might have differed, but their sadness remained the same.

The realistic responses to emotions is what made this book such a compelling one. Even the side-characters had their own problems that impacted me, as a reader, just as much as the central characters’ plights. Each individual felt concrete, whole, and necessary to the story.

What remained a little unrealistic, for me, was how the characters initially met. Their shared grief was legitimate, but their initial penned interactions, not so much. Once I could see past this, I could connect with the story much more.

This was still a brilliant and emotional read, which offered the reader the various responses to grief and the message that no one of them is the wrong one.

A companion novel, from a side character’s perspective, is due for publication in 2018 and my raw emotions are telling me no, but my mind is telling me yes!

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