Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (*Spoilers*)

I’m not feeling that well today so bear with me. That being said, here we go;

Letters to the Lost Synopsis:

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.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (April 4, 2017)
  • Language: English

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I received Letters to the Lost out of the generous heart of Brigid Kemmerer after we had talked back and forth about her book. I talked to her over twitter about how I couldn’t wait to read it due to how cathartic I think it might be for me given it’s synopsis surrounding a teenage girl having lost her mother at a very young age. For the both of them. I was given an ARC to Netgalley but then about a week or so later I was sent an early hard copy that was signed by Brigid herself.
I, truly, can’t describe how touched I was to receive something like this. I have been given other book copies from authors before but nothing that meant so much to me as this did. Those feelings only became more overwhelming as I read and finished LTTL.

I know most book reviews are supposed to give a general look at the book and praise it. Make you want to read it and so on. But LTTL was different for me. I wasn’t wrong when I said this book would be cathartic for me. I knew going into it that there was a very large chance I would have a hard time getting through it, the words would stir feelings in me that I hadn’t dealt with on my own, I could even potentially cry. Which I did. It’s because of this that I am grateful for Letters to the Lost. I’m not saying to completely healed me of the grief over the loss of my mother some 18 years ago, but the words and thought processes in this book has given me a chance to look at my decisions and grief, itself, a different way.

For that I say Thank You, Brigid Kemmerer. You’ve done more for me in one book than most therapists have done in a few hundred sessions. I’ll always volunteer as tribute to read your books and back your stories 100% because of this. Letters to the Lost will forever stay on my list of Favorite and Re-Readable books. There aren’t many of those.


 

Let me start by saying I gave Letters to the Lost 4 stars. Now that’s not to say it isn’t deserving of of five. It is. The four is my own personal issues with the book itself. They’re minor, however, but in the end they sort of add up to take away one full star.

Note: There are spoilers in this post, so stop now if you haven’t read this book. It’s too good of a read to spoil!!

Letter to the Lost is a plot I haven’t seen done before. It’s about two lost teens wrapped in their own teenage crap on top of personal tragedies that are weighing them down. Almost to the point of destruction. But they communicate through hand written letters left in a cemetery all while not knowing who the other is.

That being said, one of the main issues I had was how long it took for ‘The Dark’ and ‘Cemetery Girl’ to figure out who each other were. There were so many opportunities for Juliet to be, forgive me, not BLONDE and just put two and two together and realize DECLAN IS ‘The Dark’. Almost to the point I wanted to throw the book. Half of that was frustration, half of that was I wanted them together because when Declan isn’t being a self-destructive jerk he really is a book-boyfriend I want for myself!

A second point is Rev. I LOVE Rev. He was a little creepy at first but once he got more lines and you got to know his home life a bit more he opened up to be a very interesting character. So interesting I WANTED MORE. Now, I know Brigid is making a book JUST for Rev, but had I not known that I would have been upset because I believe it’s Rev and his past history that really grounds Declan a lot of time. Thus it would have been nice to have more on him so you could join in on that bond with Rev and Declan to love their duo even more.

Declan’s step-father was a third, and the most irritating, point for me. He and Declan were such a toxic mix of anger and spite and rejection their scenes were hard to read for me because I’ve been in a family situation that was similar. Declan couldn’t do ANYTHING right! I wanted to punch the guy in the face!! But even after knowing everything Declan did in his past and living, practically, in a car shop for his dad, who is gone now, his damn step-father still wouldn’t let him help at first. Like What. The. Hell. Man?! Get off your damn high horse! On top of that, his sudden turn around and suddenly they’re having a calm heart to heart and he’s wanting to be a family man?! At first I thought it was a rouse, and while I was glad Declan was getting to say what was finally needing to say, the turn around in the dad seemed a little rushed. But I was also glad it was happening? So I’m sort of 50-50 on that whole thing?

There was a twist towards the end with Juliet and concerning her mother that really.. threw me. Honestly, it didn’t sit well with me or the pit of my stomach after I finished the book. It was one of the reasons I had to give myself a day or so to sit with the book before I wrote this and gave a truly honest review. While I understand it was for drama purposes and for Juliet to truly have an outstanding moment to relieve her grief and figure things out, I feel like another plot somehow might have worked better. I’m not the writer so I couldn’t tell what to replace it with, but I feel like I felt the pain that Juliet did and it hurt me. Which may be had been the point all along. It just felt painful for me like Juliet going through it. Awkward even.

My favorite┬áthing I am grateful for, however, is how Brigid handled the romance. Through out the whole book the romance was there but it was more of a back burner situation. Which only made you want to have the MC’s get together that much more. It was handled so well and so beautifully that I wish more authors wrote like that. Have it there, hovering, but not the main focus but then it happens anyway in a way that’s.. more realistic. It was wonderful to read because you rooted for Declan and Juliet so much.

Letters to the Lost has a lot of ups and downs, happiness and frustrations. It sticks in my brain and makes me feel like there’s hope at the end of the tragic moments that happen in life. Brigid Kemmerer is an amazing writer and I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the table. I know I’ll be first in line for the arcs and the day of releases.

Letters to the Lost releases April 4th, 2017.

First Day of Spring Life Update

As if it wasn’t obvious I have been M.I.A for a good, long time.

Reason being is that my life had nearly, literally, blown up in my face. My house needed major repairs and everything that could go wrong, did. Our bathroom needed to be fixed first because of black mold and the toilet almost falling through the floor had it not been for the structural integrity of the pipes and basement floor boards.

Next our stove went. Thinking it was the heating coil and an easy repair we later found out it was the mother board. That is still out for repair with no idea if it can even be replaced given that it’s an in-wall unit.

Then went our fridge, which wasn’t that old! 6 years AT BEST. So for about two weeks we were living out of coolers filled with what we could save and ice. That was replaced recently for not a cheap price.

Our dishwasher was replaced, that was fun.

My uncle broke his ribs which limited driving and the ability to get our groceries or anything else we needed for about 6 weeks.

I’m not sleeping all that well and I’ve put on so much weight due to about three months of living out of coolers, eating out at restaurants, and fast food because we couldn’t cook for one reason or another. In all of this my Anxiety & Depression has taken a drastic nose dive. I just want to sleep, or hide, or just read books and be left alone. It’s very hard to deal with, as of late. I’m trying to get out of my slump but when everything just continues to fall apart it’s difficult to get out from under and you feel defeated.

So when it rains it pours! I just couldn’t win. The only thing that got me through were my favorite TV shows and books. I received some very special books.

The one I’m reading now is Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. She sent me an early, hardcover, signed copy as I asked for an ARC but there weren’t any available at the time except for NETGalley. The reason being as I have a very similar situation with the main character. Not in HOW the situation with her family happened, but in that I have lost a parent at a very early age in life. I talked to the author and told her that I could see myself finding her book to be very therapeutic for myself and I would love to read and review it. I started reading a copy on NG and to my surprise I was sent the hardcopy.
I never received such a precious gift before. I will cherish this book to the end, I can already tell. I’ve already cried a few times, this book will kill me in the end but I think as the MC grows I might, myself, as well. Or gain a new perspective on how to handle my own grief as time goes on.

I’m very excited to finish this book. But also hesitant because I’ve already cried several times. LOL And Im not a crier. LOL.

Other than that life is SLOWLY getting back together. SLOWLY.

I went out with friends this weekend for St Patricks Day to celebrate what Irish Heritage is in my blood line. A few drinks, some cornbeef, friends, Cards Against Humanity, desserts, so on. Now I just wait to go home, as I don’t drive, to get to my OwlCrate which should be arriving today!

But that’s me! How’s YOUR life been lately? Less hectic than mine, I hope.