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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Saturday, March 25, 2017

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.

Goodreads Summary

This is one of those stories that makes you feel as if you're on the same collision course as the main characters, Declan and Juliet. Literally, the entire time I was reading this book I was holding my breath. I love how intricate the plot was and how the author must have had to spend time planning it out and accounting for details. 

Juliet desperately misses her late mother. She views her mother as a perfect, whole person rather than a flawed woman. In keeping with tradition, she writes heartfelt letters to her mom and leaves them at her grave. My own mother experienced the death of her mom in her teens; I know how difficult it is to finish that last stage of growing up and adulthood without a mother to help guide you. Juliet has trouble adjusting to her mom's death and feels as if nothing will ever be the same (which it won't, will it?). She never imagines that someone might accidentally/on-purpose read her left-behind letters. 

Declan is visiting Juliet's mother's grave for a different reason entirely, but (like most people) cannot resist reading the letter he finds there and responding. What happens next is a correspondence building to a strong bond between two grieving teens. I loved how the parallel of the pair not knowing who they were to each other in high school versus in the letters. It's fascinating to read as certain scenes play out and I love books where the reader knows more than the main characters! The plot was a bit of a slow burn; I couldn't wait for the moment they found out who their respective letter-writer was in real life. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending despite guessing the roles each played in each other's lives from the beginning. Both my sister and I obsessively read this book throughout the night. 

4 Stars 

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