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It begins with a letter in a cemetery

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'Letters to the Lost' by Brigid Kemmerer
'Letters to the Lost' by Brigid Kemmerer
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Rayna Nielsen from Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans

Rayna Nielsen recommends "Letters to the Lost" for a huge age range.

It's a young adult novel, she says, but "I loved it. I really enjoyed it." Since then, she's sold it to everyone — from other adults to teenagers to even middle-grade readers.

"The thing I like about it from a bookseller point of view is that it's not really a boy book or a girl book. When you're talking about middle-grade and YA, that's a question people ask all the time: Is it for boys? Is it for girls? This is truly for both. Brigid [Kemmerer] does an amazing job getting inside the head of the girl main character and the boy main character."

The story begins in a cemetery, where Juliet is grieving her mother's recent death. She writes a letter and leaves it on her mother's graves.

There, Declan finds it. He's been sentenced to community service, and his assignment is mowing lawns in the cemetery.

"When he's mowing the lawn, he finds this letter," Nielsen explained. "He decides he's going to answer the letter."

Soon, Juliet and Declan are writing to each other.

"They go back and forth like that for quite a while, not knowing who the other one is, but writing letters, learning about who they are through these letters. That's really over half the book ... Then, eventually, they do find out things about each other and meet."

The book switches perspective every chapter, from Juliet to Declan, so you "get the same story, from both points of view," Nielsen said.

"I will say that if you do read this and you love it, there is a second book, called 'More Than We Can Tell.' If you like this, which I'm sure you will, continue on with that book."

Letters to the Lost Letters to the Lost