Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
(Updated: March 21, 2017)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Letters to the Lost

Juliet Young writes letters to her dead mother and leaves them at her grave site. Declan Murphy mows lawns there to complete his court-ordered community service. After he opens one of Juliet's letters and responds, little does he know what will take place. Juliet at first is beyond furious but later finds herself confessing to this stranger. Declan also follows by first leaving letters at Juliet's mother's grave site and then by emails. But while it's safe to write to some stranger, finding out the truth might be too much.

What worked: Compelling, emotional tale of how two complete opposites connect. I loved the letters that go back and forth between these two. Juliet's way of dealing with her pain is to continue writing letters to her mother, even after her death. I loved the raw emotion she puts in each of these letters. I could feel her outrage, when Declan writes her back. Kemmerer's writing hooks the reader and you want to know what will happen to these two.

Declan comes off as the troublemaker, though he's much more than that. He's smart but he hides behind the 'rebel' mask. It takes an English teacher to help break through that. Also his best friend Rev, who is known as that 'weird' kid who always wears a hoodie. I liked how Declan's story shows his own pain of losing his sister. His story is complex. Little by little readers see the truth of his own dysfunctional family and how words and a flash judgement can label someone.

Gripping story of how two strangers find comfort in each other's words. Also a story that shows how a snap judgement can be damaging.

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