Posted in Bloomsbury, Book clubs, Han, Ramblings, Zoella Book Club 2017

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

From Amazon: 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.

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First Thoughts
It was going to be a tough read for me. I always knew that. In fact, until Zoe announced it was this week’s focus for the Zoella book club chat I had no intention of reading this book. I thought it was too close to home and I buried it, much like my feelings about death and grief.
I’m really glad I did. Yes, it was a painful read. It was tough going, but there was something a little cathartic about the process.

 

Characters

I was able to engage and empathise with most of the characters. Brigid Kemmerer was able to create almost mirror-like characters that reflect the reader’s experiences that add depth to the characters. From the frustration and anger of Juliet, the warmth of the English teacher to the angst-ridden guilt of Declan.
The characters do grow throughout the narrative, but what I like most is that their growth does not end when the book does. You know that they have further to go, but they’ll get there.
I have more of an attachment to Declan. Perhaps it’s how long he’s had to grief by the opening of the narrative or his specific form of guilt. It could even be my love of his friend, Rev but what I love most of all is how genuine his character is; I’ve seen kids like him in my classes and it’s fascinating to see potential inner workings.

Plot

In what could have been a predictable You’ve Got Mail, grief by numbers I am delighted to say I had the rug pulled from under me a few times; and I was looking at it analytically trying to see the red herrings. I can’t really say more without spoiling the twist/s, but I can say that it helps develop a refreshing look at family, coping with death and living up to your own expectations.

Writing

It did take me a few more chapters than normal to get into the flow of which voice belonged to whom. I think this was perhaps owing to many chapters having the voices of Juliet and Declan both present; one as narrator other letter writer.
However, by the time the characters moved to other forms of communicating, I was well and truly hooked.
zbc&f-summer2017-reviews-letters

If you’ve read the book, please join the wonderful @zcollins1994 (along with myself and Gem) on Saturday 2nd September 6pm as Zoe hosts her weekly #zoellabookclub chat on Twitter (http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/2017/07/zoella-book-club-chat.html – Zoe explains it much better in her own words here). If you haven’t read the book, head over to Zoe’s YouTube channel at 5pm https://www.youtube.com/nosaferplace and you also still have time.

Look forward to seeing you there.

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