Friday, March 31, 2017

Reading on a Theme: What the Dead Left Behind

We have five brand new books today that deal with grief and loss and the people and objects the dead left behind. This post is full of amazing books, and I mean that with full sincerity. One word of caution, make sure you have a box of tissues at hand.

P.S. More What the Dead Left Behind posts.

A Camera:
Letters to the Lost is the story of two teens who start a correspondence when Juliet leaves a letter to her dead mother on her grave and Declan writes back. At first Juliet is enraged that anyone would disturb her letters but soon she and Declan are bonding and relying on one another through their anonymous missives. Letters to the Lost is achingly good. It is full of heartache and hope and delivered so many emotions. The book is a cross between a more serious version of You've Got Mail and The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter--two things I love. Plus, Brigid Kemmerer is from Maryland, and I always love discovering local authors. Letters to the Lost is out April 4th, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.

A Cigar Box:
Megan Brown is dealing with the pain of losing her brother, Tyler, but when new information about his death comes to light, it's like losing him all over again. She seeks comfort in his belongings, only to find herself having visions when she touches certain things of Tyler's. What are the objects trying to tell her and what can she do about it? The Hidden Memory of Objects is a glorious piece of magical realism. The details really brought it home for me. I loved that Megan was a collage artist who collected little things wherever she went. Danielle Amato also created some really memorable characters. I especially loved Eric (I think you will too). The Hidden Memory of Objects is out March 21st, 2017. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Secrets and Lies:
Bridge and Wil were once inseparable. Playground friendship turned to teenage romance until the night everything changed. A year later, they're practically strangers. Can their relationship be salvaged? Will tragedy bring them together? Bridge and Wil's story is laced with heart break and tragedy. Mistakes are made, hearts are broken, and lives are shattered. I found The End of Our Story both compelling and intense (too intense at times). I loved the way Meg Haston told the story from Bridge's perspective in the present and Wil's in the past. The dual narrative enhanced the mystery and allowed the story to unfold slowly. The End of Our Story is out April 4th, 2017. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The anniversary of Trixie's death is quickly approaching, but Lucy and Ben are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. They are forced to confront their feelings when they find themselves working together for the summer. In The Last Thing You Said, Sara Biren explores the different ways people deal with loss. The things Ben and Lucy do to cope aren't always the healthiest choices, but I appreciated how realistic they are and how well they fit the characters. My favorite thing about the book is the "Trixies"-- the stories Lucy tells to keep Trixie's memory alive. These stories are magical and so sweet. I absolutely loved this book. The Last Thing You Said is out April 4th, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.

A Text Message:
After being completely blown away by Jeff Zenter's debut, The Serpent King, his next book, Goodbye Days, secured a spot near the top of my most anticipated books of the year list. Carver Briggs' three best friends all died in a car crash. The driver was replying to a text that Carver had just sent. Now Carver is dealing with loss and guilt and a possible criminal investigation. You guys, this book is an emotional read. I think I was crying within the first couple of pages, and then every few chapters the tears would start all over again. I loved so much about this book, but one of my very favorite things was the portrayal of a tight group of guy friends. Goodbye Days is out March 7th, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.

Letters to the Lost and Goodbye Days reviewed by JoLee.
The Hidden Memory of Object, The End of Our Story, and The Last Thing You Said reviewed by Paige.

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