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Letters to the Lost Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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From School Library Journal
"This book is going to fly off the shelves to all teens, but it will hold special interest for those looking for a tear-jerking romance and serious readers of realistic fiction." - VOYA
"A great concept, delivered in a compulsively readable package . . . romance readers will stay up late to finish this very satisfying and heartfelt read." - Booklist
"Explores the ideas of carving identity out of pain and the way perception colors expectations." - BCCB
"Readers will find themselves rooting for the real Declan to win Juliet’s heart the same way his online persona did. Consider this tale of modern star-crossed love as a first purchase for YA collections." - School Library Journal
- Lexile measure : HL570L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1681190082
- ISBN-10 : 1681190087
- Publisher : Bloomsbury USA Childrens (April 4, 2017)
- Dimensions : 5.77 x 1.35 x 8.41 inches
- Reading level : 14 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #105,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Juliet and Declan's story grabbed me from the very first page. I found myself saying "just one more chapter" again and again and again, only to find myself 50 or 100 pages further into the book. My favorite part was how real the characters became in the space of just a few lines - their pain, their vulnerability, their hope, all of it. You're not only rooting for them as a potential couple but as individuals who desperately need healing separately, too.
In fact, I just all around loved that the romance (though strong) wasn't the focus of the story. That we get to know their families, their friends, their teachers, mentors, etc, and that each one of them feels as real as the two leads. Our lives aren't made up of one person, they're made up of a dozen people, all of whom have roles to play.
LETTERS TO THE LOST reminds us that sometimes people let us down, but that doesn't mean that we get to stop trying, or stop digging beneath the snapshot they present the world. Not if they matter to us. Because the only way to heal, to move forward, is to truly understand that although everyone has flaws, and makes mistakes, everyone also has the potential to surprise us in the best way possible.
I loved it. 100%.
I like the characters. This book is definitely a character novel rather than a plot-based novel. Things happened, but the plot is much less important than what is going on inside each of them. My favorite. Declan and his best friend Rev are the standouts for me. I loved Rev so much that I wouldn't mind a sequel for him. I never want that. There was just something heartbreaking about his tough/vulnerable dichotomy. I appreciate that Brigid Kemmerer allowed her characters to be flawed. Declan has a habit of taking offense and losing his temper sometimes without reason, and Juliet is sometimes self-absorbed and judgmental. The writing is strong enough that you understand their poor choices and aren't frustrated by them.
There is a strong theme of reputation and expectations. How do we respond to how the people around us see us? What does it take for perspectives to change? Both Declan and Juliet are constrained by a predetermined definition of who they are. The definition is partly defined and upheld by themselves. Much of their journey lies in figuring out that both they and the people around them are infinitely more complex that the narrow vision that they have of them.
Recently there was a situation at my school where a student asked for help dealing with a home situation. One thing that my school really values and puts a premium on is relationships. And while day to day it does make for a great learning and working environment, more importantly, it allowed a twelve-year-old boy to know that if he reached out, he would get help. Bear with me. I swear this relates to Letters to the Lost. I happened to be finishing up this book at the time and what I found both unusual and heartening was the amount of positive, healthy adult interaction. Shout out to the English teacher who differentiates an assignment because of *gasp that it what the student needs. How often does that happen in YA? Especially in a book that deals with death, abuse, foster care, and let's face it, high school. Sometimes there MIGHT just be one adult who cares but overall adults are not to be trusted. In this book, almost every adult when clearly communicated with had the best of intentions and was willing to support and help as best they could. There needs to be more of this in YA. YA is supposed to be for teenagers. Or preteens such as my students. Adults might like it and read it but we are are the not the target audience. When all the books show adults as monsters, users, incompetent, or absent what message are we sending them? Especially those that need help? I am glad that Letters to the Lost managed to subvert that trope.
Brigid Kemmerer's other books seem to be something along the line of YA elemental urban fantasy. I am not super interested in them but I will be on the lookout for her next book.
Top reviews from other countries
I find this one particularly beautiful, the characters are believable and I love the way their feelings and thoughts are described; simply but with accurate words. This is a book about judging persons too hastily, about fierce friendship, not letting our past define us, and about the power of written communication. Delicate and emphatic - I definitely recommend it.
(Last but not least: the cover is beautiful! It reflects the spirit of the book).
I absolutely love the way that the author has penned this story. Her writing style is incredible. The intensity is perfect. I connected with the characters instantly, which allowed me to experience the emotions that they were feeling. My heart hurt so much for Juliet and Declan at times. Their relationship is one that I absolutely adore which of course then made me fear that something, at some point in their story, was going to ruin who they are to each other.
Juliet and Declan’s story is a must read. It is a story about loss and grief, love, expectations, guilt, despair and hope - let’s not forget the hope in all of this. I was so absorbed in the story that I didn’t realise that I was crying until my tears reached the book I was holding. I found Brigid Kemmerer’s words to be so very powerful, her messages touching and thought-provoking, and to be honest this story was so much more than I expected.
I’m a huge fan of epilogues and I was initially disappointed that Letters to the Lost ended without one. Now, having had time to reflect, I actually am grateful to be able to make my own decisions on what happens next for Juliet and Declan…. I want only good things for them both from now on! This book is one that I recommend to everyone to read. I know that this story will stay with me for a long time and I’m certain you will feel the same way too.
It speaks about grief, coming to term with your losses, judgement and assumption based on very limited knowledge and self-acceptance. It wasn't cheesy, neither was anything romanticised. But it dealt with these themes in a very mature and realistic way and it was just a stunning read, enveloping my heart.