Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer

I must have been a very very good girl at some point – maybe in a previous life – to have a friend like The Book Fairy. Last time we caught up, she gave me an absolutely ginormous pile of books; I swear I don’t know what I did to deserve them!

Anyway, thank you very very much, Book Fairy – this was the first of the ginormous pile that I read… and it is excellent.

I inhaled this in one day. Well, more accurately, I started it on my commute in to work, worked a full 8.5 hour day (with an hour for lunch) and had finished it before the train home reached my station. It’s a YA novel, so very readable, but more to the point it was SO GOOD that I didn’t want to put it down! I ate my lunch in the park, on a bench, eating my pasta with one hand, eyes glued to the rapidly turning pages. I even missed my mouth a couple times I was concentrating so hard.

Yeah… enjoy that mental image!

Letters to the Lost is – somewhat unsurprisingly – about loss. It’s about bereavement, guilt, and grief, and … I promise I will blog about a light and fluffy book soon! Honestly, though, the subject matter was treated so well; both protagonists have suffered losses and (although no loss is ever straightforward) they’re both pretty complex losses. The narrative follows them as they find each other through letters, and learn about each other’s grief while dealing with their own. It’s a genuinely beautiful story, with very faint Cyrano de Bergerac echoes, and themes of mental health, friendship, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and the importance of communication alongside the bigger themes of love and loss. One of my favourite scenes involves a teacher using post-its to communicate with the male protagonist – because she sees that talking is sometimes too much for him, so she tries things until they figure out a way to effectively communicate when things are reaching fever pitch. I found that an incredibly touching moment – and pretty representative, actually, of the book as a whole.

I’ll definitely be reading this again.

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