Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Letters to the Lost

Title:Letters to the Lost

Author:Brigid Kemmerer

Format:physical ARC from ALAMW17

Pages: 388

Publisher:Bloomsbury USA Childrens



Rating: 3 Stars

Amazon Book DepositoryBarnes and NoblesBooks A Million

Synposis by GR:
“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.”

Fun fact, I wrote up all the technical stuff for this review a few days ago, all the stuff above and then didn’t write the actual review, so let’s do that!

Initially for my End-of-March, Start-of-April TBR, I was going to read The Abyss Surrounds Us and Edge of the Abyss and then Letters to the Lost but Letters comes out first so I read it first.

I wasn’t disappointed but I wasn’t thrilled.

I grabbed this book at ALAMW17 in Atlanta and became really excited for it when I actually heard someone talking about what is was about (because I don’t read synopses).

Ultimately, while the book was good, it was not the greatest thing I’ve read by any means, it stayed a solid three stars until a little over halfway through when I actually got into it.

That being said, I also spend through this book but I entirely leave that up to the fact that I haven’t been reading anything but fantasy and this wasn’t fantasy.

Okay, now let’s actually talk about the book.

Like, I feel, most contemporary, this book didn’t have a lot of worldbuilding. There were a few vague settings, like the school, the houses of characters, and, of course, the graveyard.

None of these settings had much in the way of details they were just vague places that the characters where the at sometimes.

Also, I want to say the actual location of the setting was never revealed like they live in the USA and I think that’s all you know, which is fine but also not because of how vague everything already was.

The second part will be the characters. They were okay, not the most interesting characters I’ve ever run into, a little annoying. Two MCs both told in first person, alternating every chapter.

Juliet used to be into photography (relatable for me, I ADORE photography) but then her mom died and she kind of stopped. Declan, a criminal with a bad attitude.

The side cast was small and I liked them a little bit more than the main cast of characters. I really liked Declan and Juliet’s friends, more Declan’s friend, Rev, he was freaking awesome and honest throughout the book.

Declan and Juliet themselves were tolerable and I don’t mean that in a bad way necessarily (I am really making it sound like I didn’t like the book). They were both interesting and I enjoyed reading through their eyes but they did make me want to punch them… A lot.


In regards to Juliet, she could be really dramatic and oblivious. Unnecessarily dramatic, and refusing to see things that were literally written out for her oblivious.
However, she was also pretty smart at times, willing to let people help her with her grief, and didn’t treat her best friend like shit which is something I can really appreciate.

Declan was dramatic and didn’t think about his problems beyond a surface level which is probably why he had so many problems. It was just with different character coaxing reasons out of him that he further evaluated his problems and solutions to them.
However, he was a very compassionate character under all that “manly”, “Badboy” exterior.

Okay, so now that I’ve laid all that out you might be wondering why this book remained three stars. 

Well, it’s simply that it actually kept my interested and I wanted to read it. I actually was rooting for their romance and I thought the situation was interesting, that they basically met in a graveyard and then formed a deep, meaningful, online relationship.

I liked that they both managed to help each other help themselves get out of their slumps.

I liked the friendships on both ends, though Juliet’s was less explored, it still was healthy, with some arguing and making up. It wasn’t a throwaway friendship there to show that the characters had friends, the friends actually did things other than show up when the love interest wasn’t there. The friends were a genuine part of the characters lives.

It was nice that they talked about actual world stuff something else that sometimes bothers me about contemporary. In this case, it talked about the conflicts overseas that the US is often involved in.
I feel like a majority of the contemp books I read (granted, there aren’t a lot) don’t focus on any issues, not even in passing, like there aren’t any problems. Then I just feel ten times more detached.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, like I said I enjoyed it but it definitely wasn’t my favorite book. Actual story was interesting, some of the characters were cool but it wasn’t much I haven’t seen or thought of before.

Hopefully, my next read and I will click a bit better and faster. I should be done soon so check back later to see *wink, wink, nudge nudge, please come back next Saturday, I’ve got ok content I swear*.


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