I wouldn't say that I get emotional over books, but this one made me feel some feels. This is Juliet Young's and Declan Murphy's stories, which becomes one story. Juliet's mother died in a hit-and-run car crash, and she has been grieving ever since. Juliet used to write letters to her mom since her mother was often overseas, as a photographer in war zones and such. And so Juliet continues to write letters to her mom, but leaves them at the grave site. Declan Murphy has community service, which involves mowing and lawn of the cemetery. He finds one of the letters at a grave site, reads it, and writes back.
An exchange of letters occurs, and then it becomes emails. Juliet and Declan have no idea that they are reaching out to each other and helping each other through their grief and pain. But in real life, Juliet misjudges Declan, and Declan misjudges Juliet. Both are not the other's biggest fans; but when one finds out that the other is the letter writer, will it matter? I sat down with this book with the intention of reading only half of the book, and saving the other half for the next day. I started reading really late into the night after 9 PM and had no intention of finishing.
But hours went by, my family went to bed, and I didn't even notice. I was so engrossed in this book, and I couldn't stop reading, and the next thing I know, I've finished it. It was that wonderful, and heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Usually when there is a YA book with dual, first-person POVs, I adore one of them, and feel so-so about the other I don't have this problem with adult books, which is a relief. With this book, I liked both characters a lot. I think I liked Declan more, and I really connected him more for some reason - it's not like I have a stepparent or a father in prison or a shred of the problems he has.
Declan is so misjudged, and by everyone. Everyone labels him as a thug and a criminal, and when someone says something bad about him, no one comes to his defense. If he is anywhere near a bad situation, it gets blamed on him. He and his stepfather practically hate each other, and his mother is so passive and doesn't even talk to him.
His sister is dead, his father is in jail, and he has to work off ninety hours of community service for one very bad decision. Declan isn't a bad guy. He has an attitude and he doesn't hide his anger, but he isn't a terrible person.
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He has a strong sense of morals and he is very intelligent, But again, misjudged. Even - and especially - by our heroine, Juliet. Juliet is overwhelmed with grief. Her mother's death is still fresh, and even the thought of getting rid of her mother's cameras makes Juliet break down in tears, or panic. Juliet hasn't had an easy year, but she isn't alone.
She misjudges Declan badly, and slowly, she starts to realize that. Juliet is a good girl, though at first she is a little judgmental towards Declan. In general she isn't She was to the point where she was afraid of him, which I thought was silly. To me, it's a testament to Kemmerer's talent as a writer, how she can characterize these two teens so well, and bring about those fears and angers and pain so well, such that the reader is incredibly aware of them. There wasn't a chapter that went by that I didn't distinctly feel Declan's fury and his hurt, or Juliet's panic and grief.
Such good writing, in terms of the development of these two characters. The letter-writing aspect of the story was so wonderful. At first it was odd - Juliet was furious to find out that someone wrote on her private letter to her dead mother. But then the letter-writing turned into something more meaningful and necessary. Both characters had a lot of pain and hurt to work through, and the anonymous letter-writing really helped.
Imagine being able to lay out your big problems, your little problems, your crappy day, to someone who knows exactly nothing about you. Someone who knows nothing, and yet everything. Letter-writing isn't new in YA P. This is YA contemporary with a lot of "tough issues" explored.
Declan's relationship with his stepfather, with his mother, Juliet's relationship with her father, Declan's crime and his community service, his anger, Juliet's grief, Juliet's judgment of Declan The most meaningful or one of them was Kemmerer's message about misjudging people - someone like Declan will get blamed and beat down because people already expect him to be a bad person, a thug and a criminal, but that isn't fair and it isn't right.
There is romance and it's both there and it's not. Letter-writing Declan and letter-writing Juliet definitely fall for each other through letters - their connection is very powerful. In-person Declan and in-person Juliet have more of a slow-burn, hate-to-love romance.
They bicker and fight nearly every time they see each other, and they constantly snipe at each other and misjudge each other. But their relationship changes a lot. There is a lot of chemistry between them, but it's often off the page. I liked the romance, despite the "physical" side of the romance not really being there. There were a lot of wonderful secondary characters in this book! Rev, Declan's best friend, who has a heartbreaking past but a positive outlook on life. He is an amazing friend and I loved their bromance.
He's one of my favorites, and I can't wait to read his story next. Rowan, Juliet's best friend, who is so supportive and such a good best friend. Then there is "Melonhead" his name is Frank , who is Declan's community service supervisor. He actually plays a huge and very positive role in Declan's life, and I'm glad he is in the story. Same with Rev's parents. Positive role models - not like Declan's mother and stepfather.
Ugh, to both of them. The ending is perfect! Things work out well for Declan in many areas of his life. It's not like all of his problems are fixed overnight, but he takes a lot of baby steps in the right direction. Same with Juliet. And of course, same for the two of them, in terms of togetherness. Although, I have to say, we need an epilogue, or a loooooot of cameo appearances in Rev's book.
There is a distinct lack of physical swoon that needs to be made up for, in Rev's book! I shared a snippet of this book on my latest Swoon Thursday post, and notice how it isn't a kissy swoon! Yeah, there could have been more kissy scenes. A lot more. It is such a meaningful and thought-provoking book. Also, I can't remember the last time I got that swept up in a story, to the point where I unintentionally finish it or stay up really late without being aware.
I stay up late reading books all the time but it's always intentional. There are a lot of tough topics explored in this book, but it's not overwhelmingly heavy. This is an excellent story that is powerful beyond it being a YA contemporary story about two teens who meet in more than one way. Rating: 4. I am incredibly excited to read Rev's book next year!
So far I'm seven for seven with Kemmerer's books and I have yet to be really disappointed. While I certainly do recommend her Elemental series, I recommend this book even more so! View all 27 comments. Oct 06, jessica rated it it was amazing. View all 4 comments. So wrong. This was full of pain and trauma, hope and love, desperation and fear, honesty and friendship.
I cried. Real tears. Actual eye leakage. So Juliet writes letters to her mother who died in a freak car accident, she leaves them on her grave and that is that. Until one day she receives a reply. At first she is pissed off. Who does this person think they are? Reading her private letters and having the nerve to respond? But eventually they start a pen pal relationship and soon both are spilling their darkest secrets. Declan Murphy is a loser with a record. At least that is all anyone sees when they look at him.
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No one cares why he did this, or what could have been going through his mind — he is just written off, by everyone except his best friend Rev. Juliet and Declan actually do meet in real life, not that they know who the other person really is to them. I also loved that the romance took a back seat. This was two people, struggling with some really dark stuff — finding solace in writing down their thoughts and feelings to someone else. I loved it, and my eyes were misty. View all 23 comments. According to the reviews, I should be heartbroken right now.
Out of my mind. I appreciate the premise of the book, it deals with grief, anger, guilt, as well as healing and acceptance. To be able to move on and begin anew. All of which sounded so enticing yet something was amiss. I also hated the execution and one of the main leads. The two MCs wrote letters back and forth to each other, talked about their grief which I can certainly appreciate but Not much else aside from this happened. Second, I loved and felt for Declan so much but it took about the first 30 pages for Juliet and myself to get on the wrong side of each other.
It was never the same after that. Her hostile and petty attitude deterred me from fully enjoying the novel and forming any kind of emotional connection with her. To say I hated her would be a gross understatement. She makes so many horrible assumptions about people she knows nothing about and says things that simply make you cringe and want to scream - just STFU! All it takes her is a single second to form a despicable opinion by which point she precedes to judge them based off of second hand rumours, their look, attire choices, etc I loath judgmental characters.
Juliet was the worst kind of judgmental. She was aggravating and despicable to the max and I loathed her with a passion. I could not stand her. She got better in the second half but by then the damage had already been done. All in all, it was alright. By no means groundbreaking. View all 8 comments. View all 14 comments. Vivid and heartbreaking. I feel like a bad friend, but I can't help it. I can't force what I'm feeling to fit between chapters two and six in some handbook dealing with the death of a loved one. Letters to the Lost , follows the lives of two teenagers in the wake of personal tragedies.
Through very odd circumstances they begin a correspondence, initially through handwritten letters left in a local cemetery, and eventually through dummy email accounts. Since they are unaware of the identity of the Vivid and heartbreaking. Since they are unaware of the identity of the other, they feel completely able to be open and honest about their feelings and what they are going through.
What transpires is an absolutely stunning account of the power of friendship. After the sudden, tragic loss of her mother, Juliet shuts herself off from the world. She is struggling with an overwhelming sense of grief, combined with guilt and fear of never being able to live up to her mother's legacy. Every day she goes to the cemetery and visits her mother's gravesite, leaving letters there for her that she believes will never be read. Declan is a quintessential 'bad boy' or so he would have you believe. He is dealing with his own tragedy, the loss of his sister and the subsequent imprisonment of his father.
Feeling abandoned by his mother, who has since gone on to remarry a jerk, he struggles with his own feelings of guilt, isolation and anger. Forced to do community service work after a drunk driving incident, Declan ends up working on the maintenance crew at the local cemetery where he stumbles upon Juliet's letters. Watching the relationship between these two develop is absolutely beautiful. I cannot express it any better than that. I was completely blown away by Brigid Kemmerer's writing.
She is so talented and I already picked up the companion novel to this one, More Than We Can Tell , which follows one of my favorite characters from this book, Declan's misunderstood best friend, Rev. If you have been on the fence about picking this one up, please do.
It is really just so stunning and for anyone who has lost anyone under tragic circumstances, I think a lot of the text surrounding those feelings of grief and guilt are just so relatable and really, cathartic. That's the way it felt for me anyway. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone and will probably end up reading again someday.
Well done! View all 7 comments. Dec 28, Christy rated it it was amazing Shelves: ya-challenge , audio. A day is just a day. I adored it. Declan is a bad boy, and Juliet is a good student, into photography, and outgoing. Or she used to be, until she lost her mom. He can relate, so he writes back. This turns into a pen-pal relationship of sorts. The letters. The emails. The communication between Declan and Juliet. That was my favorite part of the story. I loved watching them connect, trust one another, relate to one another, and start to fall for one another, without having any idea who each one is.
Sometimes I want to. I want to believe that we all walk some path toward… something, and our paths intertwine for a reason. The way you told me the right story when I so desperately needed to hear it. It just shows you that opposites truly do attract sometimes, and people are so much more than what they seem. His past broke my heart. The pain, grief, and responsibility he felt was crushing. And Juliet is also drowning in grief. These two needed each other more than they ever could have known. I just have to make a note that I listened to the audio book of this, and Kirby Heybourne voiced Declan.
Brittany Pressely also does a good job voicing Juliet. She has a new fan in me. Moving, heart-wrenching, and gave me all the feels. Truly, my best YA book of and a must read! View all 24 comments. This is like my 5th retelling book with a similar plot and gosh damn give me more. But honestly this book was so much more than just passing cute notes back and forth, it was about sorrow and grief and friendship and family and giving yourself a second chance. Oh my Lord, there were so many touching and inspirational moments.
I shrug and try not to make this seem like a big deal. And you know how when you have these kind of stories you always assume the boy will come and save the girl. Also, Rev is my son and I need to see more of his adorable face plz. View all 34 comments. Dec 31, Lola rated it liked it Shelves: death. Had they not lost someone important in their lives, Declan and Juliet never would have connected. Maybe those books in question were the problem.
For that, I am e Had they not lost someone important in their lives, Declan and Juliet never would have connected. For that, I am extremely grateful. Do not pick this up if you want to smile, laugh or swoon. It even gets melodramatic in the end, which is something that made me cringe a little. I believed it. Declan is not someone to whom I really warmed up. I understand. I prefer my heroes less aggressive, verbally as much as physically. Juliet is a very realistic teenage girl. All the characters are, by the way. I connected with Juliet the most because her grief felt real to me.
Part of me felt sorry for her loss, but another part of me admired her strength and willingness to move on, although it proved to be extremely difficult for her. Baby steps. View 2 comments. Jan 17, Debra rated it really liked it. Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother who traveled the world as a photojournalist.
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When her Mother dies, Juliet continues writing her letters without thinking the letters will ever be answered. Then one day a letter was answered with two words "Me Too" Two simple words that have a lot of meaning. Just who has answered back and why? Declan Murphy finds a letter left on a grave, curious he reads it and decides to answer back. Because he can relate to what is written. He is surprised when he gets an answer back. Neither Juliet nor Declan know who the other is, they never write their names on their letters.
Not knowing who the other person they are writing to makes it easier for both open up and share their thoughts and feelings but what they don't know is that they have met. This book is YA but is easily enjoyed by all. Juliet is the good girl and Declan is the "bad boy". But is this your typical good girl-bad boy book? I liked how the Author shows how our perceptions of others can get in the way of our interactions with them. If someone is quiet and sullen is it because they are cold and indifferent, or could it be because they are in pain or suffering?
What happens when you build an invisible wall around yourself and begin to let someone inside your barriers, when you let someone see your true self?
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This book is also not your typical YA romance because both characters are dealing with grief. They both have sadness and loss in their lives. Both are trying to cope in their own way while silently reaching out to the other through their letters. I liked how this book dealt with grief, family issues, setting aside your boundaries, showing who you really are, being vulnerable, acceptance, trust, second chances, friendship, and young love.
See more of my reviews at www. View all 12 comments. There were moments in his narrative where I was so worried about what would happen to him, but he becomes so strong, and under all the pain and rage is this mushy little teddy bear that just wants to protect the people he loves. Sometimes I think fate conspires against us. Or maybe fate conspires with us. View all 10 comments. Nov 05, Elena rated it it was ok Recommended to Elena by: Sana.
We're all united by grief, and somehow divided by the same thing. Don't you just love being so excited to start reading again after a reading slump of like, 3 months or so, and then ending up not enjoying the book at all? Because I sure do not. When I picked up Letters to the Lost, I didn't expect anything from it. My friend Sana recommended it to me after she read some cute contemporaries recommended by her friend.
When I first read the synopsis of it, I did get intrigued because it was shor We're all united by grief, and somehow divided by the same thing. When I first read the synopsis of it, I did get intrigued because it was short and simple but it as surely captivating in a way. The whole Juliet forgetting about her mother's loss and Declan moving past his haunting demons grabbed by attention, but it sure did not remain. In fact, it was lost in the first 10 pages. Letters to the Lost is about two characters who are struggling with grief and loss and torture to themselves.
Juliet Young is trying to move on from her mother's loss even though she feels like she's drowning in the grief. She wants to know what happened and why. She used to do this thing with her mother, who was a photographer and would travel, where she would send letters to her mother and her mother would send them back. In one of the days her mother was gone, Juliet found out her mother would not return, and she decided to not send the letter to her mother. Instead, she left it in her mother's cemetery. She no longer sent letters. She no longer touched cameras. She no longer took a picture. She didn't do anything that would bring her back memories of her mother.
Then we have Declan Murphy who is completely judged and labeled for something he did. After Declan crashed his father's pick up truck into a building, he's been judged in negative ways by his peers, his teachers, and even his family members. He has one friend who is like a brother to him who also has his own haunting past called Rev and is the one person Declan trusts the most. Declan wanted people and himself to forget about what happened. There's a story behind it all, but some people just seem to not care and move on and believe what they hear.
One day, Juliet leaves her last letter in her mother's cemetery and, not expecting anyone to see and pick it up, Declan comes and read the later and decides to write her back. This angers Juliet and gets her anrgy at how someone could invade her privacy and just write back to her without knowing who she was and now knowing her story. But, Juliet and Declan keep talking to each other, although they don't know.
They know each other in real life but they actually hate each other. In the letters, the begin to email each other as Cemetery Girl and The Dark with no one knowing who is who. As time passes, they begin to write to each other and are open to each other as never before. The begin to understand each other's paths and feel some sort of connection between strangers.
This fate may lead to secrets being untold, but that just might lead to lies being as threats. I expected Letters to the Lost to feel real for me. I expected to feel sympathy for the characters in a way--to feel bad for them. I didn't feel anything though. I didn't cry. I didn't laugh. I didn't smile. I had my resting bitch face the whole time reading this, and I hated it.
Letters to the Lost
I predicted things since the beginning, and sure I was wrong in most, but I still hated how they connected in ways. I didn't hate any character, but I also was not able to relate to any character in any way and I was not able to sympathize in them. Most of the time, I can understand what the main character is going through or what it feels like to go through what they are going through, but not in this one. The book is supposed to make you cry and make you feel sorry to the characters.
It's supposed to show you what it feels like to be judged and labeled when no one even knows you and your story.
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I didn't feel bad for the characters in the beginning or the end, especially in the end with what happened, and I don't regret it. I know it's sad for someone to lose a mother and I know it's sad to be seen as someone you are not, but in the end, none of it was true. I admittedly didn't feel bad for any character. I actually felt pity for Declan's attitude and personality and Juliet's judgemental phase. They both were two different characters, and they both had their negative features. Declan was an asshole to Juliet even when she tried to be nice.
I always wondered why, but it might've been because she was judgemental of him. Even when she and every other classmate didn't know Declan's full story, they would judge and criticize him for what they heard. They would make fun of him and his father who is in jail. They would make fun of Declan because he was put in jail as well even when they don't know what happened. I guess you could say there was a good enough reason for Declan to be an asshole to everyone because of his label, but I still wish he could've like stood up to something about it to bring it down.
Instead, he'd just walk away and not bother to care about anyone or anything. Juliet was a normal teenager grl who would judge someone based on its cover. She didn't know Declan at all and would also go along with what she heard. But then, I didn't feel a lot of pity for her as much. She lost her mother and didn't know why and she was the normal teenage girl who acted the same and would try to start her path over. This is supposed to be a contemporary romance , but the romance is not there at all! There are the last few pages, but they don't even count.
There was nothing. If you know me, you know I'm a loser for cute contemporaries because I like crying about the cute relationship that I will never be able to have, and you'd expect me to read this book because of the romance. And yeah, that's right, but it wasn't there, and that was a problem. The romance isn't the main focus, but it wasn't a focus at all! Declan and Juliet's friendship developed and improved in a way that was confusing and not understandable.
He was still an asshole at times even when he knew, and other times he was this sweet and caring boy. It didn't make sense to me! Declan improved more than Juliet and I loved that about him. He started building up his path and starting acting differently. He managed to listen to Juliet about his mother and stepfather and somehow confronted his own self. He was seen as cold and angry in the outside, but inside, Declan was always caring, sweet, and funny.
Juliet had her improvement as well but decided to get back to taking pictures and even touching her mother's camera. She and her father actually managed to have a stable and healthy relationship even when she got mad at him. He wasn't the kind of father that would treat her differently and rudely because the mom was no longer there but instead, he'd try to treat her better. Her dad was caring as well and I'm glad both characters had healthy relationships with at least one parent.
In my opinion, the best character in this story was Declan's best friend, Rev. Rev was outgoing and chill about everything. He didn't approach anyone with an angry attitude and showed his good side before others could show their own side. He was understanding for and to Declan and their relationship as friends were so cute. He wasn't angry and although he also has his own haunting and dark past, he can get past his emo looking phase and actually be seen as someone who has already managed to create their own path and continue to.
I did hear that this author is gonna publish a book about Rev, and yes, you bet I will read that! I actually own this author's other book, Thicker than Water and I kind of am interested in reading it but at the same time, I'm not sure. The writing in this was very easy to follow that I ended up reading as much as I could manage without realizing it. I haven't had time to read lately which was why I was surprised I managed to read at least pages thanks to that 45 minute trip to another city.
Maybe I'll read this author's other novels to see how different or similar it is. Letters to the Lost was not my cup of tea. Characters felt too bland and the whole plot was boring. In the end, everything is put together and makes sense but it's also everywhere that you might have to go back to the beginning to understand. In the end, you might even have to go back to the middle to understand it as well. The ending was just awful and I wish there was more to it, but overall, Letters to the Lost was dull and not something I would read again.
View all 9 comments. Brigid Kemmerer amazes me everytime. I forgot how addictive her writing is and how lovable and real her characters are. I felt their pain and yes, once again, this book made me cry like a baby. If I could, I'd dive into this book and give all these characters a hug. I can't wait to reread More than we can tell! I gobbled this book up in one night, I just couldn't get enough. Everything about this book was just perfection. And it really made me realize that you really have no idea what someone else is going through.
This is a story about two broken people who help each other heal through a written correspondence. Juliet and Declan writing to one another about their grief brought me to tears quite a few times.
It was awesome that they were there for one another without really knowing eachother. I am a major fan of guy best friendships. Declan and Rev were no exception to that. They'd been best friends since kids and know everything about eachother, they're practically brothers. They're both outcasts with little to no experience with girls which I found refreshing and adorable. Apr 09, Aestas Book Blog rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites.
She never imagined someone would write back I like to find balance among all the books I read and since recently I've read many lighter, sexier romances, I was craving something a little more heavy and serious. This book immediately came to mind because the blurb really stuck with me -- the idea of characters becoming close without ever having met or knowing each other's identities were fascinated me.
When I opened it, I was captivated by the story in the first two pages and literally read it straight through to the end without stopping. In tone and feeling, this is a very serious book. And incredibly well written!! More like mature YA fiction in terms of genre the hero and heroine are both seventeen and in their last year of high school but have each survived experiences that made them sometimes seem older than their years but I do want to reassure you that there is a happy ending.
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