“We’re all united by grief, and somehow divided by the same thing.”
Rating: 5/5 stars
In my life I have experienced two unexpected and shocking deaths. The first was my grandmother who died less than one week later from complications of her cancer diagnosis. The second was my sister’s boyfriend who was run over by a drunk driver four days after his twenty-second birthday.
I don’t tell you this as a cry for attention or that I’m looking for any type of pity party, but more so because while both of these deaths were completely unexpected I coped with each death so differently, much like Juliet and Declan. Juliet, pushed her loved ones aside after her mother was killed in a hit and run accident. Declan, resorted to anger and bitterness after getting the “bad boy” label slapped on him after a drunk driving incident in which he tried to end his life.
From the moment I picked up this book I instantly connected with both characters because Juliet and Declan’s grieving processes were so similar to my own. When it came to my grandmother I crawled inside my head and was a mess, pushing away friends, or people who tried to reach out and tried to cope with her death on my own. When it came to my sister’s boyfriend it was the worst kind of anger I could ever describe. It was an anger that consumed every fiber of my being, I was bitter that the anger was something that physically hurt. For three years I was a ball of fury who hated the world. Now five years later I am still angry and bitter but it is something I’ve learned to deal with better. For so long I thought I would “recover” from both losses, that one day I would wake up and the missing and hurting would be gone, but even after all these years, the heart break, and the ache of them being gone is still there.
This is another reason why I love books like this. I love to read how people heal themselves after losing loved ones, where they believe they go after they die, how the justify them being gone, etc. Books like these help me cope with death even ALL these years later. They are still everything I need.
The story of Juliet and Declan is a beautiful one because it includes some of the most AMAZING character development I have ever read on both ends. Juliet and Declan change and become better versions of who they are meant to be in this story with the secret friendship they begin when Declan answers a letter written by Juliet that was left at her mothers grave. Juliet although angered at getting a response to the letter is intrigued and so begins the process of our characters being brutally open and honest for the first time about who they really are.
I LOVED how this story did not focus on romance. Yes, they characters did have feelings for one another but this book does not focus on that at all. I think that’s the last thing a heavy book like this needed and I am so glad the author did not go down that path with the characters until the very end. Instead the author creates an amazing connection between the two of them by them anonymously writing letters and e-mails to one another causing the two to connect more mentally than anything else. BRAVO Brigid Kemmerer!
A few other things I loved that I will just brush upon because I don’t want to spoil anything. There are a few plot twists in this story that are heart stopping, and OMG they make the story that much better. Juliet’s dad is the most amazing kind-hearted man and my heart is 1000% broken for him after reading the end (not even for losing his wife, but for what he did for Juliet all her life). I loved Rev and the way he cared for Delcan, I can’t wait for his book to come out because I am so intrigued by him!
Overall, this is a story of love, loss, grief, heartbreak, and hope all wrapped in one. I would recommend this book to anyone who has lost someone and feels as though they can’t move forward. Sometimes books like these are what we need in life to keep us going
Until next time!