Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Release date: April 4, 2017
An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I am very conflicted about Letters to the Lost. On the one hand, it's a YA story reminiscent of You've Got Mail. On the other, it felt like a very typical YA book at times.
I liked how Declan and Juliet got started by writing letters to each other and then switched to email and an IM-like chat. I really liked Rev and his friendship with Declan. I loved watching Juliet's relationship with photography change, although the relationship with her best friend could've used some work. It felt a bit stereotypical at times, although I liked that the one guy was more interested in her than Juliet, but it didn't cause a problem in their friendship.
My biggest beef with the story was the parent-child relationships. Juliet's mother is dead, and she and her father aren't close. In fact, her father doesn't seem to really care about his daughter. Declan's father did horrible things, his mother was basically complicit, and Declan's stepfather is awful. I really wish the parents hadn't all been bad parents because that's so overdone in YA, and I'm tired of it.
Finally, I just didn't feel deeply invested in the story. I wanted to so badly, but I expected more from Letters to the Lost.
Some foul language.
The Verdict: Kind of good, but it didn't strike a chord with me.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Maybe eventually.