Just Punch Me In The Heart: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Just Punch Me In The Heart: Letters to the Lost by Brigid KemmererLetters to the Lost
by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: April 4th 2017
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC, Hardcover
Pages: 400
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

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.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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As much as I read, it’s not often that I find books that speak to every essence of my soul. I formed a connection with Letters to the Lost long before I picked up the book. In fact, my love affair started with the Publisher’s Weekly sales announcement. There’s always a part of me that’s worried when I hype up a book in my head, but given that I love Brigid Kemmerer, I knew that this was going to be one of those stories that would stay with me forever. Well, I was right! Letters to the Lost, was poignant, emotional and absolutely Brigid Kemmerer’s best novel to date.

I’m up to date with all of the author’s books and one of the most noticeable aspect about her writing is just how talented she is at writing characters that pop to life. Both Juliet and Declan were beautifully fleshed out protagonists, whose heartbreaking sorrow pulled me into their story. I’m not always fan of books where the characters have very angsty story-lines, but if done well, like in Letters to the Lost, I find them to be memorable. Despite all the grief, and hurdles that these two kids face, they are brave and bold and beautiful. Juliet is reeling from the death of her war photographer mother and she is really struggling in the book. Her grief was so vivid, every time I picked up the book, I had a pang in my heart that just would not go away. What was realistic about this story, was that even though she finds an outlet for her heartbreak, she’s not magically cured of her depression. By the end, she is still struggling with it, but has also found a way to deal with it in a positive way. Declan’s story was just as emotional. He was the misunderstood “bad boy” who everyone fears, but who nobody besides his best friend, Rev truly knows. While he may not be the easiest to warm up to at first, Declan becomes very likeable as he slowly peeled off those tough layers he surrounds himself in. Your heart will ache for him, and you’ll want to hug and protect him from every source of evil in the world.

The bond that Juliet and Declan form is so much more than a romance. It’s an emotional connection that not everyone is lucky to find, and I was happy that they found it in each other because they really needed it. The letters they write to each other, slowly opening up and finding solace in each other, were one of the many things I loved about Letters to the Lost. There was just so much raw emotion in them, that I couldn’t help but shed a tear or two a couple of times – which is a rare thing for me. In their real lives, they don’t particularly like each other at first, but they slowly do grow to trust each other despite not being sure if this is who they are talking to via letters and online. I liked that they both saw the clues about their identities, but still don’t reveal their online personas to each other until they were 100% comfortable towards the end of the book.

Besides the achingly swoony romance, there were also some great themes of friendship and family that I loved. As always, Brigid Kemmerer pens ALL the relationships she writes with richness and complexity. I particularly loved the role that Declan’s friend, Rev, and his family played in the book. I’m secretly hoping for a Rev book one of these days because I would read the heck out of it and because he deserves his own story (UPDATE: Rev is getting his book!). Juliet also has an amazing dad and the best friend a girl could ever had, who were absolute pillars to her as she battled with her grief. We also get to know the nature of her relationship with her late mother through her thoughts and emotions, and it was written beautifully.

Letters to the Lost is most assuredly one of the best books of the year for me. If you love your YA books with a good dose of emotions, relateable characters and intricate relationships, it’s one you need on your bookshelves. I most definitely will be purchasing a finished copy of this beauty so I can re-read over and over again.

What is one of the most memorable books you’ve read this year? Are you a fan of romances that take place through letters?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • This sounds amazing! I’ll be adding it straight onto the wishlist 🙂 I love when you find a book that just speaks to your soul! Why I have loved many of the books I’ve read this year, I haven’t found that one book that utterly wows me yet… but I’m going to keep looking. Maybe this one will be it 🙂

    • You should totally read it! I hope this will be that book that completely wows you! 🙂

  • Angel @Angel Reads

    I finally picked it up Nick and just just, I can’t it was too good! There was just so many good things about it. You review sums it up. I hope to have my review up in the coming weeks – but gosh was it good. Thanks for the review.

    • I’m so happy you liked it, Angel!

  • This one sounds beautiful. It’s hard to find book that just connects with you on personal level, and so far this year I haven’t found it. I haven’t read any of this author’s books either, but I think starting with this one might be okay 🙂 I love the whole anonymous letter thingy, it sounds cute but in this story, it also seems sad. Can’t wait to read this!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    • I agree! They are hard to come by. This is a good place to start with Brigid’s books!

  • I have seen nothing but amazing things for this one so it is definitely on my must get list. I love a good emotional YA book. SO glad you loved and connected to this one. Great review!!

    • Oh this is totally a Grace book! Thank you!

  • I just read this over the weekend, and I loved it, too! It hits you right in the feels and never lets up!

    Great review.

    • Really happy you liked it too! 🙂

  • Wow, another shining review for this one?! I definitely need to get my hands on this one. I really liked the sound of it and added it to my TBR, but with all of the positive reviews I’m definitely going to have to pick this one up. I love romances that involve letters. There’s something so romantic about that. Great review!

    • You should, Julie. It’s a book that deserves all the hype! And same! It’s very romantic because you know they are getting to know each other emotionally!

  • sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    I LOVEd this one too. Definitely a favorite, for sure. I haven’t read her previous works yet though. I should probably get on that, huh? Great review!

    • Oh yeah! They are very different from this one, but they are super fun and have great relationship dynamics.

  • kindlemom1

    Yes!!! This was so freaking good. I just loved it.

    • Right? It was amazing!

  • I was just reading professional reviews for this book and they were outstanding. I’ve read some of Kemmerer’s book, but nothing in years. I should give this one a try, even though I haven’t been all that into YA lately.

    • You should. It’s not like the typical YA, Quinn!

  • I mostly skimmed through this review since I’ll be picking it up very soon and want to be surprised. I’m so happy it was a total hit for you! I love when a book is so raw and tears your insides apart with how beautifully heartbreaking it is. I got even more excited to read this!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

    • Looking forward to hearing what you think of it, Genesis.

  • I want to read this book so I’m going to come back to read your review. But man am I stoked that you gave this book 5 stars. I know that I’m going to love it too. Woot!

    • I can’t wait for you to read it, Rowena. I hope you love it!

  • This sounds like a beautiful story and one I would enjoy. Great review.

    • It was pretty powerful. Thank you!

  • This is the second heartfelt review I have read for this Nick. I added to my holiday list for my niece and youngest daughter. (who i will have to borrow it from..lol)

    • You and your niece and your youngest will love it, Kim! 🙂

  • I’ve seen this around so much lately! I don’t usually read contemporary, but this does sound so good! The romance sounds fantastic! 😀 Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    • It’s worth checking out, Tracy!

  • Rev is getting his own book? I am down for that book. I am totally ready to read that book. That needs to be in my life soon. I haven’t read anything else by Brigid Kemmerer and that is obviously my bad because I have obviously been missing out. I completely loved the characters in this and their slowburn romance as they got to know one another and I loved how real they felt. I am not always up for angst and drama but this was done well.

    • He is! It’s up on GR already too if I’m not mistaken. She writes a really fun paranormal series about brothers that you should check out. I’m glad you loved this one as much as I did.

  • After reading this review I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read a book by Brigid Kemmerer! That clearly needs to change though, and I’m starting with this one. As you know by now, I’m usually not a fan of angsty contemporary stories, but it sounds like this one is done really well so I probably won’t be bothered by that. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one!

    • Oh she writes such fun books, Danya. Her first series was a YA paranormal one and they were very entertaining.
      I think you’d like this one!

  • Eva

    This sounds so good! It wasn’t on my radar but now I want. want. want. Lovely review Nick!!

    • I hope you’ll like it, Eva!

  • I really enjoyed this book, too. Rev is getting his own book? I can’t wait for that. Great review, Nick. 😊

    • He is, Jess. Next year!

  • booksarelove

    Great review! This book sounds like an amazing read! I cannot wait to get a copy 🙂

  • Sarah

    Great review! I love how you describe how much this book means to you. I’ll definitely check it out! One of my most memorable reads this year is All the Ugly Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. I’m a huge fan of dark themes and the characterization was so beautiful. At the end of the story, I felt like I understood something I didn’t know if I would originally understand and the message of judging others before you know the story of where they come from and what put them in situations really made me not only question how I look at literature, but also how I look at people.

    Sassy Sarah Reads

    • I’ve heard about that book. It sounds very difficult but lots of my friends have liked it.

  • Another book to look forward to this April. Honestly, there are so many contemps that are coming out next month. Romance is a huge thing for me, so knowing I have the swoon to look forward to had me salivating. 🙂

    • Yes! April is a fantastic release month. I hope you love this one if you read it, Joy!

  • I was suppose to read this by now myself, so many beautiful reviews for it. I’m just not 100% sure I am emotionally ready for this kind of read. It’s been a crap month

    • I can understand. I hope your month gets better!

  • I really liked this book a lot! Brigid definitely makes characters pop. I didn’t know about the Rev book!! That’s so exciting. He definitely seems to have a story to tell. I can’t wait to read it. Great review!

    • I’m glad you liked it too, Lori. Yeah, it’s coming out next year.

  • Oooohhh I didn’t know she had other books! I actually don’t know much about Brigid Kemmerer, so this will be my first book by her! I hope to be just as blown away as you were! ALSO LETTERS. I loved Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot, and even though it’s not the same thing, I really loved the letter/email aspect of it. So I’m sure to enjoy this, I’m sure 😀

    Awesome review Nick!