Date posted: 6th February 2017 / Book Reviews
Letters to the Lost is a book that I think everyone should read. Intended for a young adult readership, this novel, written in a cross genre style of epistolary and traditional narrative is insightful, bold and profound with huge crossover appeal.
It tells the story of Juliet Young, a young girl who has just lost her mother, a celebrated photojournalist. Torn apart too quickly, Juliet cannot get over the harsh reality of her mother’s passing and so writes to her daily, leaving her letters at her graveside. Then, one day, someone reads one of the letters and the words contained within it strike such a chord that he feels compelled to write back. Declan Murphy is troubled, serving community service at the cemetery, he finds Juliet’s letter at just the moment when he feels most alone in the world. Suddenly a few words scrawled on the letter in pencil may change everything…
At first, Juliet is incensed that someone has read her private thoughts but it is not long before they are conducting a secret life in letters, their inner most thoughts and darkest secrets spilling out onto the page for the other to read. Safe in the knowledge that they are confiding in someone who does not truly know them, what will happen when their identities are finally revealed?
As well as being a novel about the teenage experience, Letters to the Lost is also an excellently well written tale of loss, sorrow and grief and how these things can affect us. The novel explores the ways in which we deal with extremes of emotion and delves into the nature of our personal revelations. The epistolary form allows these two characters, who seem so far removed from one another in ‘real life’ space to learn more about each other and to recognise their own pain in someone else. I think this is an important lesson for us all. It is so easy to feel alone in the world and yet, there are more people experiencing what we are going through than we even imagine, this is well highlighted in the novel.
Letters to the Lost is a novel which helps its characters to confront and experience their grief and also to learn that our perceptions of a person can sometimes be deceiving – something which it is becoming increasingly important to remember in current times.
An emotional read but one which is important, heart-warming and at times heart breaking, Letters to the Lost comes thoroughly recommended by Literature Works.
Letters to the Lost publishes on 6th April 2017 by Bloomsbury Children’s.