Buddy Review | Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer

Both of us are trying to make a dent in the amount of unread backlist books on our shelves. A fun way to do this is planning a lot of buddy reads and that’s what we decided to do with Letters to the Lost. This is a book both of us have had for quite some time and we heard it was pretty emotional. We finally read this book and want to talk about our thoughts. Keep on reading to find out more!

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.


Candyce: Both the UK and US covers of this book are stunning. I love how the title pops out and that the flower petals are actually letters. I don’t think they could’ve chosen a better cover for this book.

Isabelle: I really like the covers for this book. The letters are beautifully designed and I love the font for the title. I think the colors on both the UK and US covers fit the story really well and think they did a great job on them.

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


Candyce: Letters to the Lost is a book I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but just never got around to. It was also a book I heard a lot of people thought was really emotional. That’s something I need to be in the mood for, so I kept putting it off. Once I picked it up I have to say I flew through this book. I loved that we got the letters and then the e-mails. I love when books have those elements.

In the end I have some mixed emotions about this story. My favorite part of the whole book is Declan’s story. He went through a lot of traumatic things and was still really blaming himself for everything. His growth and development in this book really touched my heart. I really ended up caring about this character and he made this book for me. I loved how we saw things in his family start to change and his English teacher and his supervisor at the cemetery made my heart happy. It shows us that sometimes all it takes are a couple of people to take time for someone and listen. Having someone believe in you can make a big difference.

Our other main character is Juliet who lost her mother in an accident not too long ago. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose your mother, especially in such a traumatic way, because I’m really close to mine. For me it was really hard to connect to Juliet. Of course, grief is something we all deal with differently and no one can be judged for that, but if I’m honest she annoyed me quite a bit. When Isabelle and I were talking about this book I said it felt at time that her story was just kind of made to have a second character, because it didn’t feel close to anything what Declan’s story did. Certain events and revelations felt out of place and odd.

Not being really interested in one of the main characters also made it hard for me to really believe in the romance. I loved that both of them had a way to talk about stuff they never dared to and of course that creates a connection. My favorite relationship is Declan’s friendship with Rev. Rev seems like a character with his own heartbreaking story and what we saw of him in Letters to the Lost has me really excited about his story. Hopefully I can make time for it soon!


“I wonder, if I keep faking it, will I eventually believe it? A part of me worries that I’ll keep faking it and completely forget what’s real at all.”

Isabelle: I wasn’t really excited about reading this book when I started it to be honest. But Candyce was planning on reading it and since I do own it, I figured I might as well ‘get it over with’. This sounds pretty negative, but I did go in with as much as an open view as possible. I knew this wasn’t really my kind of book but I gave it a fair chance.

This was a pretty fast read and that was mostly thanks to the concept. Every chapter starts with a letter or an email or a text message and I loved that. It was a great way to tell the story and a nice way to switch between the two points of view. I thought this was really well done and like I said, it made for a fast read.

But I’m still a bit conflicted on this book. I loved some of the characters while I also detested some of the others. Declan is amazing and I absolutely loved his story and his development. If this book was just about Declan it would’ve been an easy 5 star. His teacher and his supervisor are amazing as well and I loved how they got through to him at some point. Rev, his best friend, was also great and I do really want to read the sequel that is all about Rev.

Unfortunately, this book is not just about Declan. It’s also about the relationship between Declan and Juliet and arguably also about Juliet. I don’t say about Juliet’s development because I don’t think she had any. She was a very annoying character to me and if it wasn’t for Declan I would’ve put this book down pretty early on. Her friend Rowan was the absolute worst and I can’t imagine anyone liked her.

Lastly, I also thought the book had some sentences that were very prejudiced. For example; “it’s the kind of late-night snack usually reserved for potheads”. And there were a couple of sentences like this that made me stop and pulled me out of the story. I got really annoyed reading them. Just talking about all of this makes me wonder if I didn’t rate this book to high haha. But in the end I did absolutely loved Declan and the format of the story. Hopefully I like Rev’s story better!

“You can’t make your own path with your eyes closed.”

Even though this wasn’t a five star read for us and both of us had some issues with this book, we do want to read More Than We Can Tell. Rev is a character we need to know more about. Have you read Letters to the Lost? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you!

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