Reader Reviewed Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Letters to the Lost

Written by Brigid Kemmerer

13+ readers   YA readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

In a Nutshell: Grappling with grief | Facing the truth | Forging new paths | Intensely moving, uniquely premised story of two strangers torn apart - and brought together – by deep loss.

Juliet’s mother was killed in a car crash on her way home from a photojournalism assignment in Syria. She tries to deal with her grief by writing letters to her mum, and leaving them on her grave. Then there’s Declan. Everyone has him down as a no-hoper bad boy from a messed-up family. He’s been in juvenile detention and is now doing community service maintaining a cemetery, which is how he comes to read and reply to one of Juliet’s letters. The path of their relationship - and the gripping plot - takes many heart-stopping turns as new revelations threaten to pull them under. Ultimately, though, both teenagers realise that the key to survival is finding the strength to make your own path.

I was especially moved by Declan’s personal journey. He’s intelligent, sensitive, and his astute comments about free will and fate help set Juliet back on track. The novel also imparts an important message about the perils of making assumptions; people aren’t necessarily the person you think they are. Powerfully raw, and written with great clarity and a whole lot of heart, this is highly recommended for fans of stories with emotional grit. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

Teens/YA's love to read and so in addition to the review by one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Rebekah Marsh, age 14 - 'I read this book in one sitting, it was so incredibly powerful I felt unable to put it down for even a short second. A truly inspirational tale.'
  • Amy Laws, age 15 - 'Heartfelt and emotional throughout - this book is definitely worth a read. The story had a very deep, emotional quality throughout and I was fully engaged in the story line all the way through.'
  • Katie Miller, age 15 - 'No words I can say will do this book any justice. Brilliant book. Easy read but hard to put down. I am in love with it!'
  • Neha Saji, age 13 - 'This is hands down one of the best books I've read! The book contains such raw emotion, which are very relatable for teenagers these days.'
  • Izzy Read, age 16 - 'This is a read in one sitting kind of book, one that I have already recommended to friends! It’s addictive and compelling in its storytelling with a classic romance that seeps with mystery and intrigue.'
  • Grace Spear, age 14 - 'Letters to the lost is a beautifully written book which drew me in and made me feel really connected to the story, giving me a smile whilst I read it.'
  • Laura Mae Sutherland - 'I wasn’t convinced that this was the sort of book that I would normally enjoy...I’m so glad to say that I was completely wrong!!'
  • Megan Chambers, age 16 - 'The character development was really good and well crafted. I think it handled the topics of loss, grief and abuse very well, but put it into a way that teens can read about and understand.'
  • Freya Moore, age 14 - 'I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a different take on teenage romance with a surprising twist at the end.'
  • Imogen Breaks, age 14 - 'Letters To The Lost is a heart-wrenching story about one girl's struggle against her guilt as to why her mother is no longer alive and how her entire life turned upside down by two words.'
  • Abbie Bavister, age 14 - 'This book is one that everyone should read.  From the very first page I was drawn into the book.  It is a book of exploration between the many layers of family and friendships and how we connect with others on so many levels.'
  • Amelia White, age 17 - 'Letters aren't as commonly used today and that makes them even more special when you receive one hand written for you. I loved the incorporation of letters in this book, it added to the magic!'
  • Clíona McKeown-Bittles, age 18 - 'Read it... just trust me...The charismatic and poignant charm of this novel has captivated my emotions whole heartedly with one of the most heart-wrenching narratives I have read to date.'
  • Susanna Wagstaff, age 14 - 'A heart-warming and compelling book full of surprises which will make you laugh, cry and wish you were a part of it. This book is fabulous and so worth the read!'
  • Megan Abbott, age 18 - 'Beautifully, thought provoking. I became emotionally invested from the very first page and couldn't put it down.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'A very endearing, feel good story. Highly recommended!'


Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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.


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

About the Author

Brigid Kemmerer

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Letters to the Lost, More Than We Can Tell, and the YALSA-nominated Elementals series and the paranormal mystery, Thicker Than Water. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, with several stops in between. Brigid is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and children.

Author photo © Nicole Daacke Photography

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Book Info


400 pages


Brigid Kemmerer
More books by Brigid Kemmerer

Author's Website



Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

6th April 2017




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