Friday, August 4, 2017

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

What it's about:
     To cope with the death of her mother, Juliet writes letters and leaves them at the cemetery.  When someone (spoiler: it's Declan) finds one of them and writes BACK, she's at first angry, then intrigued.  Thus begins an anonymous correspondence in which the person writing to her may have more in common with Juliet than she thought. Being able to bare all in such a personal yet impersonal way seems to have a strong impact on both parties, but reality has a way of impeding even the most private of exchanges, and secrets start to seep through the cracks and into their real lives.

What I thought:
     I picked this book up at a publisher's booth during BookCon on a whim.  I was with a friend, and when we read the inside cover, it seemed like something we'd like. It also came *highly* praised by the girl who rang us each out a copy.  The plan was to read it together (we do buddy reads all the time).  It had been sitting on my TBR shelf for almost 2 months when the other day my friend texted me, asking if I wanted to start the read. I wasn't super into any of the other books I was reading at the time, and said "Yeah, sure!" 

That was yesterday.  My friend hasn't even started it yet (Sorry, Court. Please forgive me.)

I've been going through a bit of a YA Contemporary Romance phase (yes, it's waaay out of my comfort zone--the proof is in my "Read" list).  So when I grabbed this one off my shelf last night and reread the jacket info, it was like...fate.  I had just run out of the few YACR books that were in my radar, and suddenly, without even knowing it, my past self went and bought my present self a...present.

That's exactly what this book was for me.  Don't get me wrong--this book is pretty emotionally rough to get through most of the time--the main characters are heartbroken and hurt and hiding that fact from most of the people in their lives.  When they get a chance to anonymously open up and spill each of their secrets, it feels a little like a hand reaching into your chest and squeezing really hard.  The emotions come through vividly and feel very very real.  

I'm not going to lie--this book overall probably won't make you feel very good.  Parts of it are cute, and feel pretty good, but it's decidedly *not* your typical cutesy YACR.  But the growth that Juliet and Declan go through to get to the ending is raw and authentic and gripping.  If I hadn't had to do life things like...sleep and work, I would have downed this thing in one sitting.

I'm not saying it didn't have a few downfalls. The characters themselves can get a bit cliched and some of the scenarios were a tad dramatic, but when they're stuck into the story and given these huge impactful backstories and really great secondary characters (my complete and utter favorite being Rev, Declan's best friend), all that cliche and drama seems a bit *less* cliche and more on the "Oh ow, that hurts. This isn't even happening to ME, why do I feel this pain?" side of things.  

Honestly, my biggest problem with this book will be deciding how to reorganize my "favorites" shelf to fit this one in.  


Rating:  5 stars.

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