If you’ve read this blog before, you know I love the work of Brigid Kemmerer. Her characters have depth, intrigue, and angst without falling into clichéd patterns that can seem repetitive and dull in a genre that has so many offerings. They also have something a little paranormal in them. The Merrick Brothers in The Elementals Series have their control of the elements. Thomas in Thicker Than Water has a secret ability that he wishes had stayed hidden.
So what does Letters to the Lost‘s Declan Murphy have?
No super powers, no spidey sense tingles, no witchcrafty spells, no fangs, no shifter problems.
Just a juvie record and some community service.
Wait. What? Brigid Kemmerer wrote a book that wasn’t a paranormal?
Huh? How do I feel about that? What will her characters be like without some kind of paranormal element?
I’ll tell you what they are like: BLOODY FREAKING FANTASTIC, that’s what!
Oh my God, these characters are amazing! Two teenagers who have suffered a tremendous loss and who are lost in a mix of guilt and grief and isolation, find each other through letters left in a cemetery and learn that maybe they aren’t as alone as they’d thought. As they exchange letters, their painful pasts unfold and lead them on a path that has the potential for either healing their hurt or revealing a truth more agonizing than either could have imagined.
The way Kemmerer writes Declan and Juliet’s pain is so real, so gripping, that the pain is its own character. It’s so sharp and so agonizing that it feels solid, like an object you could pick up and hold in your hand or throw against a wall. She takes fictional storylines and interweaves them with very real issues that young people face every day, such as bullying, something that has been addressed in the YA genre many times; however, Kemmerer brings a unique point about bullying to the surface in Letters to the Lost, and I think readers will walk away a little more aware of their preconceived notions about other people, and I love that Kemmerer is able to do that so subtly.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I am not going to say any more about the story other than READ IT. You will love Letters to the Lost. It just might be Brigid Kemmerer’s best book yet.
Oh, and Rev’s book is up next.
Let the anticipation begin!