I was not prepared for this book. I thought I was but it caught me off guard. It surprised me and shattered my heart.
Short recap: Juliet writes letters to her mother that recently passed away. Declan tends the cemetery where Juliet’s mother is buried. He discovers the letters and starts writing back – but neither knows who the other is. The most beautiful friendship blossoms from writing to a mysterious person and they turn out to be exactly what the other person needs.
What stood out to me the most about this novel were the characters. They were both terribly flawed and that made them feel more real. They were both grieving for someone they lost and they were handling it differently. One acted out in rebellious ways while the other chose to internalize the pain. Who knew all it would take to help someone deal with the pain was a mysterious friend that shared the same pain and someone to talk to. Now it is no surprise that both characters hated each other in real life but connected over anonymous letters and emails. I did not like Juliet in the beginning because she came across like a spoiled snot. She was rude to nearly everyone she felt was beneath her. That made it very difficult to like her. Thankfully that was short lived after she and Declan started talking. Declan had a rather rough home life so I immediately felt bad for him. How could I not?! His step-dad was a massive POS that needed to go away. Declan was trying to deal with his emotions the best way he could and was getting no help from his family. All of these things and more made these character so much more relatable.
I know some people would say that a story where two people met through a random letter in a cemetery is farfetched, but I believe it could happen. Why not? People have met from wrong dialed phone calls and incorrect email addresses. Anything is possible nowadays and I like the idea of believing something good coming from grief. Kemmerer’s writing style was just beautiful and the words flowed off of the pages. Everything about the plot worked. The pacing was on point along with the ending of the story. It was not rushed or unresolved. It just… worked. My heartstrings were tugged and my emotions were overflowing by the time I finished this one. Man, I’m even tearing up now as I write this review.
I was hesitant to start this as I had not had a good run of luck with books recently. They all let me down within the first 50 pages so I went in with low expectations. Boy was I wrong! I felt all of the feels with this. If it hasn’t already been placed on your TBR, please add it now. It is a powerful story that is more than a YA contemporary read. It deals with heavy, serious topics but does so in a way that feels organic. Please, give this book a chance. Your heart will thank you.