Juliet Young writes letters to her mother… and leaves them at her grave.
She never imagined someone would write back…
***DEEP BREATH*** This book intrigued me from the moment I read the blurb. I like to find balance among all the books I read and since recently I’ve read many lighter, sexier romances, I was craving something a little more heavy and serious. This book immediately came to mind because the blurb really stuck with me — the idea of characters becoming close without ever having met or knowing each other’s identities were fascinated me. When I opened it, I was captivated by the story in the first two pages and literally read it straight through to the end without stopping.
In tone and feeling, this is a very serious book. Deep. Thoughtful. Painful. Hopeful. And incredibly well written!! It’s a quiet but powerful story. It’s not a Romance but there is a love story. It’s more about PEOPLE. Friendship. Family. Love. Loss. More like mature YA fiction in terms of genre (the hero and heroine are both seventeen and in their last year of high school but have each survived experiences that made them sometimes seem older than their years) but I do want to reassure you that there is a happy ending. The writing was beautiful. It flowed so smoothly and I definitely know I’d want to read another book by this author just because she wrote it. I loved the vivid imagery and the way she conveyed emotion. I highlighted so many passages. The characters were complex and compelling. The story was intriguing, surprising, and ultimately deeply satisfying. In every way, this book was the perfect “change of pace” I’d been searching for and while it was very DIFFERENT than what I’d normally read/review, I loved it!!
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…
The letters they wrote to each other were so thought provoking. Many of them gave me chills and shivers. There’s a raw honesty to opening up to someone who doesn’t know you but that you feel you can trust. It’s like you bare your soul without fear of judgement. Each letter had weight, if that makes sense. They just conveyed so much.
It’s worth mentioning again how much I loved the writing. Not only was it beautiful, but the pacing of the story was on point — always moving forward, no ‘extra’ scenes, no parts of the book that I wanted to skim. I felt very connected to this story the whole way through.
This story addresses a lot of important themes of friendship, loyalty, betrayal, family life, loss, healing, bullying, judgment, unfairness of societal standards, and struggling to find a place to belong and make amends. The heroine is struggling in a world without her mother — a parent she’d lost to a dangerous job she kept choosing to return to even at the risk that one day it might leave her daughter without a mother. And the hero is struggling with loss as well, and judgement from everyone around him. He’s automatically labeled as a screw up and lives life having to prove himself every step of the way and it’s exhausting and demoralizing. But in the midst of their pain comes these moment of hope that give them reason to think that maybe they can help each other come through to the other side.
Do you believe in fate? Sometimes I want to. I want to believe that we all walk some path toward… something, and our paths intertwine for a reason. Like this, the way we’ve found each other. The way you told me the right story when I so desperately needed to hear ti.
Their anonymity allows them to open up to each other in ways they’d never have been able to face to face. It gives them a safe zone without judgement, labels, or bias. Just one person spilling their heart to another — connecting, sharing, trying to rationalize, understand, come to terms with the things that have happened to them and the people they loved. All their letters had a profound impact on my but the revelations towards the end had my heart racing and I read as fast as I could. I really loved the way the ending came together.
I’d consider this to have been a really fantastic reading experience. It was a very well written with well developed characters. I rarely read this genre, but the way Juliet and Declan subtly fell in love with each other through their letters gave my romantic heart just enough to keep me happy. Ultimately, this was a complete change of pace from what I usually read but I loved it and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different!
Rating: 4.5 stars! Standalone Mature YA Fiction.
PS: the regular price on this book is $12.99 (that’s what I paid for it) but I’ve noticed it’s sometimes dropped a bit. At the time I’m writing this it’s $9.99. But basically, if you notice it as being below $12.99, it’s on sale!