Facing one of the biggest reading slumps of my life, I was determined to leave it far behind and get back to my reading. Because with the way things were going, it seemed like this nightmare was ever going to end! This past Thursday I had more than enough – honestly just reading my Instagram posts from last month makes me want to lose my sh*t! So I browsed my shelves for a cute YA contemporary book since those books always do the trick!
Initially, I started reading Dumplin’ but after a couple of chapters, I got so irritated with the narrator that I went back to the shelves in the hunt for something else. I ended up picking Letters to the Lost, and I am thrilled to say that I absolutely ADORED this book…
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.
Okay, so let me share something a little personal with you about the kind of kid I was all through my schooling years. I was the quiet, nerdy girl in class who got on well with my teachers – surprise, surprise. I never struggled academically, and since my Mum was a teacher too, I always treated my own educators with the utmost of respect.
However, being this kind of student came with a lot of expectations to constantly perform well in class and behave a certain way. I can’t remember ever having a problem with this though; but if you were to believe every film/TV series/book set in school then you’d think that I must’ve been shunned by the rest of my peers for being a ‘teacher’s pet’, right?
By some miracle (if I were to believe every film/TV series/book) I got on really well with the kids adults referred to as ‘troubled students’ – my skin crawls just typing that out. My friends were the ones who were constantly sent to the principal’s office for bad behavior, or whose extracurricular activities included detention and community service. The kids who you’d expect to be picking on the student I was.
So Letters to the Lost became a deeply personal story for me, and I could connect with Declan Murphy more than I could with any character of any book that I read all year round. Because Declan Murphy was the kid everyone deemed “troubled”. He and I would’ve been the best of friends in school. So reading his story ripped a hole in my chest, and made me want to look up each and every one of my friends who had to go through this kind of treatment in school.
Last year I wrote this post where I said:
I’m tired of reading books where the single agenda of the female narrator, revolves around a boy who broke her heart. I’m tired of reading about female characters whose only goal in life is to be pretty. And if I read another book about a girl who wants nothing more than to bring another girl down, then I may set it on fire – and for a biblio, that is a serious offense! I fail to understand how this can be the extent of importance in a young woman’s life. There’s an eternity of other things to write about that matter that will still bringing an important moral across for teenagers to learn. I cannot accept that I am so distanced from female narrators in young adult fiction… And I sincerely hope to see this pattern break, as it’s begun to in the YA Fantasy genre.
Reading Letters to the Lost was like reading a book that was written to answer all the requests demands I made in that post. It told the story of two young people who were dealing with an indescribable kind of loss and the aftermath of the trauma that came hand in hand with it. It dealt with real life issues in an honest and realistic way that didn’t once waver in the message it was determined to deliver. And man, I loved every second of this story!
It was beautifully told and packed quite a powerful punch to the feels. Deep and complex, yet uplifting and hopeful – it far surpassed my expectations and is now a book that I highly recommend you read asap.
I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
I received Letters to the Lost from Jonathan Ball Publishers in exchange for an honest review.