So on Saturday I reviewed Letters to the Lost and whilst these two are companion novels you can definitely read More Than We Can Tell without having read the former. I loved them both so highly recommend picking the pair up to devour, and you will have the benefit of already knowing a bit about Rev’s past if you read LttL first.
When I started reading I initially thought that it was going to be very similar to the first book where much of the communication takes place via letter and then e-mail. And although texts and online forum communication features here too it is not between the main characters who actually meet face to face.
The first book dealt with loss. This book tackles some even heavier issues, such as child abuse, fostering and adoption, online bullying and misogynist gamer culture, and another topic I can’t mention without it being a spoiler.
Although Juliet and Declan from the first book feature, the former is very much only briefly mentioned and Declan is relegated to best friend status but is still his awesome self. I love the brotherly relationship between him and Rev.
But this book is time to really focus on Rev’s back story, the reason behind his uniform of a hoodie which leads to his nickname as the Grim Reaper. In the book he turns 18 and that means someone he’d never quite been able to forget sneaks back into his life.
Emma meanwhile has an online stalker slide into her DMs and hack into the popular game she herself developed. The only problem is she knows that gaming culture is like that for girls and her parents are too busy with their own thing, including her mum disapproving with how much time she spends on the computer so she doesn’t feel able to share.
It’s all too common for parents in YA fiction to be absent, and whilst our main characters do have some absent parents it’s nice to see the relationships with the parents they do have explored from all angles. Something that was started in the first book too. It’s particularly good to see such a positive relationship with adoptive parents whilst also showing the challenges that foster/adoptive parents face and the abuses that can sometimes occur with caregivers too.
The end of the book turns into a bit of a thriller and there is some violence that readers expecting a romance may not be expecting.
It’s really good to explore the concept of harassment happening in the context of ‘but that’s just how it is’ and to see teens challenging that and looking out for each other.
One topic that doesn’t get that much mention in books in religion and I thought Rev’s religious views were sensitively handled. Personally I don’t follow subscribe to organised religion, identifying more as a humanist agnostic. I thought the author did a really good job in presenting a balanced view whilst respecting the beliefs of her character.
I loved Letters to the Lost and I think I loved this powerful read a tiny bit more. Actually no I can’t decide. They are both ones I’ll read again.
About the author
Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Letters to the Lost and the YALSA nominated Elementals series and the paranormal mystery Thicker ThanWater. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, with several stops in between. Brigid is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and children.
Huge thanks to Faye and Bloomsbury for my copy for review. I will treasure it and the opinions above are entirely my own.
Do check out the other two Bloomsbury Spring Titles – Truly, Wildly, Deeply by Jenny McLachlan and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.
On Wednesday I’m part of the Bloomsbury Spring Titles blog tour and I will be reviewing the follow up to Letters to the Lost – More Than We Can Tell. I’ve heard you can read the books as standalones but I’ve had the first book on my shelf for ages so wanted to pick that up first.
And I am very glad I did. Now I’m not a big romance reader with regards Adult Fiction but throw me some YA Contemporary Romance and I get the gushies. I find contemporaries so much quicker to read than the sci-fi/fantasy books I usually go for so I’d highly recommend if you’ve hit a bit of a slump and want a pacy and emotional read.
This romance is fairly complex. Juliet writes letters to her dead mother which she leaves on her grave. One day she gets a response to her letter – from a stranger.
At first she is so angry and, rightly so – her privacy has been violated. So she writes back telling the mysterious author what she thinks of them.
Soon the pair of them come to realise that the other person they are communicating with share similar feelings of loss and anguish and eventually they share e-mail addresses and start chatting about life, the universe and everything.
But little do they know that they’ve actually already met in real life, and they really don’t like each other.
Declan thinks Juliet is a preppy snob and he’s known as the school’s most likely to end up in prison, after all he’s already doing community service.
Author Bridget Kemmerer creates two troubled teens searching for meaning, finding it in each other but being scared to take that next step. As an occupational therapist I also liked how the author explored the meaning people find in doing valued occcupations and the loss they feel when they are prevented from taking part in them.
There’s a shock twist towards the end of the book that I can’t help but wonder how their relationship would play out if the author had chosen to pick the alternative. We would have needed a much longer story to play that out and I was satisfied with the ending but left pleased with the knowledge that we get to delve into Declan’s best friend Rev’s back story in the follow up. Come back on Wednesday for my stop on the blog tour to read what I thought about More Than We Can Tell and check out the other blood tour stops reviewing three of Bloomsbury’s Spring titles.
Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloomladen, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!
But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?
Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.
Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.
What I Thought
This was such a fun read and perfect for the target audience. I can imagine that this would make a great bedtime story with lots of enjoyment to be had doing the voices.
The two main characters, best friends Mildew and Sponge reminded me of Phineus and Ferb, as did the whole crackpot adventure.
Not only did Chris write all the words he drew all the pictures too. And I felt the illustrations added to the story, in one case more clearly contributing details that wouldn’t have been gleamed from words alone. And look at this map?
This is a fun boarding school parody that will entertain fans of the genre. I’d love to see Robin Stevens and Chris do a Murder Most Unladylike/Maudlin Towers crossover. Maybe the Deepdean Vampire could meet the Maudlin Werewolf?!
The werewolf aspect wasn’t really introduced until halfway through the book which I thought was a little late, not that there wasn’t lots of enjoyment to be had with all the other aspects of the story first.
There were lots of threads that were tied up and this was very well executed, and I imagine created quite a headache for everyone involved. Note to self: Never write time travel. Addition to note: Oops too late – – Ask Chris for advice on how to keep track of everything.
Will our intrepid duo live to have another adventure or will they fall down to the curse? Even though Halloween is over do pick up a copy. This dark nights time of year is perfect for spooky stories.
I nearly got bitten by this little Werecat the other night but how can you not forgive him?
Thanks to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for arranging the review copy. Opinions are mine.