LETTERS TO THE LOST - by Brigid Kemmerer

LETTERS TO THE LOST - Brigid Kemmerer
Published: 2017 - by Bloomsbury Children's.
Pages: 393.
Genres: Young adult / contemporary / romance /
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball Publishers SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!

Juliet Young has always written 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 of them knows that they're not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 OH. MY. HEART. This book is everything I never knew I needed. It broke my heart and healed it. I cried. I laughed. I was one minute giddy with warmth and delight, then suddenly breathless with shock and heartache. So, so good.

The writing is excellent, and I mean that in every single sense of the word. The story's gripping, un-put-downable, irresistibly compelling, and the writing - vivid, and as far from flowery as you can get - is extremely powerful. It's intoxicating in its brilliance.
The story's unique and refreshing, and the twists and turns left me breathless. My heart was pounding for most of the novel. I wish my words could do justice to this gorgeous emotion-swept bittersweet gem of a book, but the best I can do is beg you to please, please read it.

The characters are AMAZING. No one is flat, no one is a small character, no one is boring or unrealistic, and every single person comes across three-dimensional and real.
It's not just Juliet and Declan who undergo incredible character development: the secondary characters have brilliant arcs, and their rich development - particularly that of Rev and Alan - is excellent. The relationships in this novel are complicated, but they're so perfectly written.

Juliet and Declan are two of the most brilliant protagonists I've ever read about: strong motivations, strong histories, strong character traits, and with the perfect balance of flaws and redeemable qualities. They are masterfully written, and their development is mind-blowing. My heart broke for them, but I also rejoiced when they found their happy ending.

This isn't a book about romance (although the romance is there and it's BEAUTIFUL and slow-burning). It's a book about friendships and character development, learning from mistakes, seeing the people in front of us for who they really are - for better and for worse - and healing the brokenness inside of us. These topics are so thoughtfully addressed, and I absolutely respect and admire the way Kemmerer handled them. And in case you're wondering, this book never once makes love out to be the cure of all. THANKFULLY.

The friendships. OH MY WORD. I believe this book is about relationships most of all, and the epic friendships completely enveloped my heart and soul. Rowan and Juliet are the epitome of a realistic and healthy female friendship, and Rev and Declan are the male equivalent. The friendships are probably the best thing about this novel, and they grow, develop, and the characters stand by each other just like friends should. SO PERFECT.

Letters to the Lost is a vivid, emotional, utterly beautiful and compelling novel about internal journeys, healing, friendships, and the conflict that is our fallible human nature.  One of the best books I've read this year,