BRIGID KEMMERER is the author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons. You can visit her at www.brigidkemmerer.com
Title: Letters to the Lost
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 10/5
If you want to read a very sad, beautiful and meaningful book then Letters to the Lost is the book for you.
We have two main characters, Juliet and Declan, and the book flip flops back and forth between both of there perspectives. Both of our characters have suffered severe family losses. Juliet's loss is more recent but Declan's loss, although four years old, is still fresh because of the path he took with his life. Juliet wrote letters to her mother and left them at her grave and one day, Declan happens to be in that same cemetery and finds her letter and decides to reply. This sets the pace for the rest of the book and the two form a penpal type bond while neither party knows who the other is? It was amazing to see just how much a person can open up to a stranger. Sometimes it's just easier to spill your guts to someone who doesn't know you and can't judge you.
Juliet is introduced as a girl who recently lost her mother in a tragic accident. She is not coping with this loss well, at all. In fact, it seems like she is getting worse. She quits everything she loves and she just moves inward on herself. Aside from her being unable to cope, she is also unable to move forward with life and her teachers have stopped giving her passes for "dead parent syndrome". One thing I did notice about Juliet, she isn't exactly the most observant person in the world. This observation comes from an email conversation that happens more toward the end of the book. Maybe someone else will notice it or, at least, I can hope someone else notices it so I don't feel so OCD about it.
Declan(really awesome name, Mrs. Kemmerer) is the troubled kid that has a record. So basically he is a stereotype. Or so it would seem from the way his classmates, and even his stepfather, talk about him. But there is so much more to him. So much more, and no one sees this because he doesn't show it. But what reason does he have to show it when people have already painted their pictures of him and changing someones view isn't exactly an easy task. So he just slipped into the persona and accepted it. But, the letter he finds left in front of a headstone in the cemetery he is mowing for community service, moves something in him and maybe, just maybe, he doesn't want to be the guy everyone seems to KNOW he is. Maybe, he wants to be happy and move on from the disaster that happened, not once, but twice. Declan was letting TWO days out of his entire life dictate who he was. But now? I guess you will just have to read the book and find out! Oh yeah, don't swoon too hard!
The relationships in this book are amazing. Normally side characters don't add a ton to the book but all of these characters and relationships were pivotal and added so much more to the story. I think that the more information we get from side characters the more we can get to know our main character and who they are as a person, especially before the book began, and that is very important because that is when we as reader start to connect with the character.
There is a ton of tragedy in this book. Now, normally, I get annoyed with books that over use tragedies. But this book... this book was written so well that the tragedies are believable. I didn't find myself rolling my eyes or shaking my head about the bad luck and it actually made the story more impactful.
There was a pretty big plot twist at the end of the book and I truly hope Juliet can learn to forgive her mother. No one likes to speak ill of the dead but it has to be hard to process things you find out after the fact. Aside from the plot twist, I was very satisfied with how everything wrapped up.
Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.
Okay, so these afterthoughts are going to be a bit spoilerish so if you haven't read the book and hate spoilers you should probably not read this but I am going to try to be as vague as possible.
What the hell happened with the yearbook picture?! I feel like that was a constant plot point and it was left open. I know it might not seem like much, and it really actually shouldn't be, but this plot point was the cause of fights and unwanted memories. It was pretty important to me. The other this is... did Juliet decide to take pictures again? I have a feeling she did but it would have been nice to know for sure
1) How did you become an author?
I started writing when I was in middle school, mostly because I ran out of books to read. The first story I remember writing was about a boy with wings who escaped from a research facility. It was completely silly and ridiculous, but it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to think I could write a full book, and it wasn’t until my late twenties that I thought I had enough talent to become a full time writer.
2) What is your favorite book you have written?
This answer changes all the time, but right now, it’s Letters to the Lost.
3) Who is your favorite character in Letters to the Lost?
Such a tough question! I think it’s Rev. He’s already become a reader favorite. When I put him on the page, I wasn’t sure what he’d do, but I love how he turned out. His book, More than We Can Tell, will be available April 2018.
4) If you weren't an author what would your dream job be?
Probably a high school math teacher. I love working with kids, and I love math.
5) If you had to pitch Letter to the Lost to a potential reader what would you tell them?
I would tell them it’s a story about a girl who copes with her mother’s loss by leaving letters at her grave, until a stranger writes back and they form an anonymous friendship – not realizing that they know each other in real life, and they don’t have the greatest opinion of each other. It’s all about learning to look beyond the surface of the people around us, because we all have a side to ourselves that we don’t show the world.