Juliet is still grieving the death of her mother. And that takes the form of frequent trips to the cemetery and writing her mother letters. She leaves the letters by her mother’s headstone. Juliet wrote letters as a kid when her mom was on the road for work. She keeps up the practice as she tries to deal with her loss.
Declan mows the lawn at the cemetery. It’s his community service after getting drunk and crashing into a building. Usually he just trashes the things left around the headstones when he needs to mow. But for some reason, one day he reads a letter he finds – and he write’s the author back.
One response leads to an exchange of letters and then an exchange of emails as two hurting teens find connection through writing and transparency with one other person in the world. They each find someone who understands them. Someone they can really talk to and say all the things they are holding inside. And they also find that this relationship may give them the help and courage to address some things out loud in their real lives, too.
This was a delight! I read it through in one sitting and when I was done I wanted to start all over from the beginning.
I love these characters. Juliet and Declan are so broken and so endearing. They each so badly need someone to really see them and hear them. Someone who draws out the best in them. Someone who sees past the prickliness of grief and pain.
One of the messages of the story is that there IS help available. Each of the kids has friends and teachers or mentors who want to help. They have to learn to ask for that help sometimes – or to accept it when it’s offered.
This story gave me the same feeling as A List of Cages when I was done. The subject matters wasn’t as dark in this one, but it left me with the same warm feelings from seeing teens find a community that loves them, knows them, and shows up for them. Fantastic! (Some language)