This Is Not A Romance Book: ‘Letters To The Lost’

Not even in a this isn’t a love story. This is a story about love. It just wasn’t a romance book.

Also, this is my 100th post! It’s only taken 2 and a bit years haha. Thankyou so much for everyone who’ve encouraged me to do this blog, and to keep going when my posts don’t even make sense to myself. Also, my favourite part of blogging is getting to chat to you guys, so thanks for that. I love every comment (sort of. I could do without the spam ones trying to get me to buy paracetamol. You’d think they’d have realised by now it’s not going to happen). 🙂


Name: Letters To The Lost

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: 2017

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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.

Do you recognise the author? Brigid Kemmerer wrote ‘A Curse So Dark And Lonely’ (it shocked me too). It only occurred to me that they were one and the same when I saw her list of books on the inside cover. It felt very coincidental there was two Brigid Kemmerer’s who are both accomplished YA authors. Oops! I’d been thinking of reading ACSDAL for a while, but I’ve seen so many conflicting reviews – have you read it? Is it any good? I’d think so – ‘Letters to the Lost’ wasn’t bad.

Although it wasn’t great.

See the source image

The book opens with Declan finding a letter addressed to someone’s dead mum on their grave, so he just… ya know… reads it. As you do. What really bugged me though, what that he assumed it’s a girl by the handwriting, because it just wouldn’t do if he was talking to a boy. It’s not really a big deal, but Juliet (her name, I kid you not) also assumes that he’s male when he replies to her letter. That one addressed to her dead mother, he replies to it! But I guess they had to somehow make it cute and romantic that they were talking to absolute strangers in a graveyard.

Plus, Declan and Juliet didn’t actually write that many letters! They swap paper and pen for email pretty quickly, certainly quick enough not to equivalent the name of the book. OKAY. Just read that back. From now on I’m going to stop being so cynical and talk about why I enjoyed the book. Because on most levels, I did. ‘Simon vs the Homo sapiens Agenda’ is one of my favourite books, and living proof that the sending-anonymous-emails trope could work for Letters to the Lost. Even if it’s not gay. And has far less Elliot Smith references. And was really giving me Wattpad vibes?

less cynical starting now

The first time Juliet meets Declan in real life, she bUmPs iNtO hIm and her coffee flies everywhere. His reputation around school is that he’s a real bad boy (of course ) and she calls him a ‘douchebag’. Which sets off this feud between them (did you see that coming? Not being cynical. I mean, it made cuter when they finally figured out who each other was. It did!). And that made me wonder, how bad is douchebag? Isn’t it like… a part of a hoover… I’ll probably get hate for this, but in America what scale of an insult is douchebag? Should I not be saying it on here?

“We’re all united by grief, but somehow divided by the same thing”

LETTERS TIO THE LOST

TW suicide mentions – just skip this paragraph

But, in all seriousness, ‘Letters to the Lost’ covered some quite heavy themes. There was a large focus on dysfunctional families and thoughts of death. How nobody is as great – or terrible – as you might think. I have conflicting thoughts on whether it was romanticising suicide. It’s a subject you can’t just throw into a book for the sake of character development and it was only mentioned a few times, not gone into depth. Not going into it kept the tone lighter but it felt a bit like it was glossing over the topic.

See the source image

Near the end, the book got so much better. It turned into a sort of murder mystery, which I both didn’t see coming and loved simultaneously. Both Declan and Juliet resolved things with their families (yay)… now all that was left was to resolve things with each otherrrr!

Oh god.

Whatever colour the cover is, it always screams ‘THE DARKEST SECRETS. THE FIERCEST LOVE’. You’d have thought by the third time they rethought the cover, they’d have changed it to something that was actually true. I just don’t think that if they only fully meet in person, that they can be in love. They don’t even say they love each other! One of my favourite parts of the book was watching their relationship grow, but their was their PLATONIC RELATIONSHIP. I think it would have worked if they were friends (can you tell).

To conclude, this was a pretty decent book. That may not be the impression you’ve got from this review, but it was a nice break after Dune (find my review here. Gotta plug it every chance I get haha 🙂 ). If you’re looking for a straight Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda crossed with All The Bright Places look no further! I’m interested what happens to Juliet and Declan next, so I’m going to treat myself to the sequel for Christmas. you know it’s good if I’m actually spending money on a sequel. Lastly, this book has taught me two things: 1) That love and friendship can get you through dark times. And two…

THAT REPLYING TO LETTERS ON GRAVES IS REALLY CREEPY I mean romantic!

I’m not a cynic 🙂

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore, and books. Honestly, any books I can get my hands on but my personal favourites are fantasy, mystery or your classic teen romance (it’s ironic I know but you can’t really go wrong with 'Eleanor and Park'). And one day, I decided to try and share some of my opinions on some great – and not so great – books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it; I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of books (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

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