So, I didn’t love this book. There were parts that I liked, but there was more that I disliked more than anything, which is such a shame as I had really high hopes for this one!
Juliet has written letters to her mother for as long as she can remember, and she refuses to stop now that her mother is dead. Leaving letters at her grave is her coping mechanism. Her grief consumes her. Declan, on the other hand, is very much the tough guy you wouldn’t want to stand near at school. People steer clear of him – but is he harbouring a dark secret? While on community service, landscaping the local cemetery, Declan finds a letter on a grave and can’t help but write back. Soon the two teenagers lives are anonymously linked, and the pair open up about their grief, pain and losses. But will real life interfere and tear them apart?
The concept of this book is great, and I actually wished to see more letters as I enjoyed the way the two characters opened up to each other. It was raw and unfiltered, their feelings just written onto the page for the other to read. Unfortunately, the real life characters tended to get on my nerves quite a bit. Declan was the stereotypical Bad Boy with a dark secret, with his stereotypical best friend who himself also had a dark secret (and even darker dress style). I normally like a bad boy character, but Declan was just so brash and quite boring once the surface was scratched. Juliet was interesting enough with her relationship with her father, and her reluctance to pick up her hobby of photography again. She’s very much in the shadow of her mother, a famous warzone photographer, and hates the thought of even touching a camera as it brings memories flooding back. But still, she became quite predictable the more I read.
I was so close to giving up this book, but the ending came out of nowhere and was actually quite good and shocking. I wasn’t expecting the twist, and while it was still shocking, there were some tender moments between characters. The two main characters grew as individuals, and with help around them were able to understand their grief and pain in order to grow, and those around them grew themselves. There were some really nice moments between Declan and his community service supervisor, Melendez, which seemed to really be the turning point for Declan himself. I’m quite glad the ending was good, cos I would have truly been so disappointed had it not. I just really wish that there were more letters. More letters would have made this book so much better.
Final thought: A moving story with unfortunate stereotypes, and not enough letters. 2.5/5