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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Lefty's Lowdown: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
(Letters to the Lost #2)
Published: March 6, 2018 by Bloomsbury Children's
Source: I received an eARC of this novel through Netgalley. All opinions stated in this review are 100% my own.
Summary from Goodreads: 
*While this book exists in the same universe as Letters to the Lost, it is a standalone title.*

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay...until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.
 After finishing Letters to the Lost, I simply could not wait to get my hands on this sequel. Thankfully, I'd been approved for the title on Netgalley, otherwise I have no idea what I would have done. Admittedly, while this novel was absolutely enjoyable, it didn't quite hold up to its predecessor for me.

This story follows Rev, a character I fell in love with in Letters to the Lost, and Emma, a new and intriguing character. I wish I could say I loved Rev in this novel as much as I did in Letters. I think I was just expecting something different. While the Rev in Letters was indeed a bit tortured, he was also unwaveringly sweet and supportive and wonderful. In this novel, though...I get it, he was going through a lot. But I just found him incredibly frustrating. He was keeping this big secret from his best friend and his family and it was poisoning him. Even still, I do not understand why he chose to keep it a secret. I really think that all of his angst and drama would have dissolved if he had just taken the honesty route. More than that, I felt as if he didn't treat people the way they deserved.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Emma's character. She is this badass gamer girl who coded her very own computer game that hundreds of people played. Once again, I think a lot of her problems would have been solved if she had just told an adult what was going on with her, but I was more sympathetic to her secrecy. She felt like her problem didn't really matter and she was determined not to show weakness.

No matter what, though, I was hooked on these characters' stories. Despite any irritations, I cared about them and I wanted to see their happily ever after. The ending took a turn that wasn't hard to see coming but was kind of unexpected in terms of the tone of the story. A part of me wants to say it was a bit melodramatic, but, without giving spoilers, I have to admit that shit like that actually happens. Kemmerer has presented us with a very real, very scary threat that we might not even be able to see coming in our own lives.

I do love that Kemmerer maintained the theme-of-sorts from the first book, which is beginning each chapter with a letter or message. I also love the glimpses of Declan that we get to see in this novel, and we even get more resolution for his story. And, of course, I will forever and always love the relationship between Rev and Declan. No matter what obstacles arise in their personal lives or in their friendship, they are there for each other no matter what. It's real, unconditional love. I said it in my review of Letters and I will say it again: this relationship can and should serve as an example of a beautiful, healthy male friendship for the rest of fiction history.

This novel deals with subjects such as abuse, cyber bullying, women in male-dominated spheres, divorcing parents, adoption and foster care, and interracial families. Though this isn't a perfect novel, and my rating will reflect that, it is still one that will live in my heart for a very long time. These characters and the world they live in became real to me. I was not ready to say goodbye when the novel concluded, but I was satisfied with where their stories ended.

My rating: 

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