Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer! Two teens that have each lost someone they love begin an ongoing anonymous conversation by adding to a letter left and then found next to a cemetery headstone. The conversation moves to email for convenience and these two strangers help each other grieve. Declan has lost his sister and his father is in prison and no longer part of their family. His mother has married Alan, who isn’t the nicest to Declan. Juliet has lost her journalist mother in a hit and run car accident and she lives with her father. Declan has an amazing best friend, Rev, that’s dealing with his own traumatic past and Juliet’s best friend, Rowan, is supportive and caring. The email relationship remains anonymous and grows deeper and more meaningful as their grief is dealt with together. Letters to the Lost melted my heart with the complicated storyline and endearing, real characters. I love everything about this story, from the caring, helpful teachers to the awkward friends to the dysfunctional family members. All of these components create a beautiful realistic fiction novel worth 5 stars!

Pixelated by L.S. Murphy

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Pixelated by L.S. Murphy! Piper lives in Clarkton, Iowa and she just moved in with her mother and stepfather while her father takes a new job in Kansas. Piper had to leave all she’s familiar with and start her senior year of high school as the new kid in this very small town. Her mother works for the local paper, Clarkton Gazette, and has Piper help as a photographer, since that is her talent and career choice. Piper becomes part of the yearbook staff, thanks to the teacher and despite the yearbook editor, Morgan, who is immediately threatened by Piper. Small town gossip and assumptions make her life miserable. Piper feels as though everyone close to her has been lying to her and she’s devastated when she walks straight into her father’s lie. Her life is spiraling downward and she feels like she has absolutely no control over anything. A realistic fiction story with all the relationship struggles of real life. 5 stars for this intense book full of angst and clever characters!