Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Also by this author: Letters to the Lost
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Publication date: March 6th 2018
Format: eARC from publisher (thank you!)
With loving adoptive parents by his side, Rev Fletcher has managed to keep the demons of his past at bay. . . until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma Blue's parents are constantly fighting, and her only escape is the computer game she built from scratch. But when a cruel online troll's harassment escalates, she not only loses confidence but starts to fear for her safety.
When Rev and Emma meet, they're both longing to lift the burden of their secrets. They connect instantly and deeply, promising to help each other no matter what. But soon Rev and Emma's secrets threaten to crush them, and they'll need more than a promise to find their way out.
From the author of Letters to the Lost comes a new compulsively readable story for fans of Nicola Yoon.
Review: More than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
More Than We Can Tell is an unputdownable read for people who love mysterious good boys and angst that has a lot of context. It’s the sequel to one of my favorite books from last year, the sleeper hit (at least among bloggers) Letters to the Lost.
More Than We Can Tell is a standalone, though, so you don’t have to read the two books together, but MAN. If you do, get ready for some emotional reading.
The novel features Rev, a boy who has been emotionally and physically abused by his pastor father, and who has lived with wonderful foster parents since he was eight. Despite the trauma of his past, Rev is a pretty nice guy, if a bit of a loner. He has one best friend, his neighbour Declan, and he spends most of his time practicing jujitsu and helping his family with foster children.
Things change for Rev when two things happen: 1) his biological father emails him for the first time in eight years and 2) his parents tell him that they are bringing in another teen foster kid. They’ve never had another teen before, and Matthew has also clearly been abused. Matthew’s issues bring forward some of Rev’s trauma.
On the other side, we get to meet Emma, a gaming and computer genius who has created her own multiplayer role playing game. Emma’s home life is fraught because her doctor Mom seems to think gaming is a useless activity – which is both frustrating for Emma and her father, a computer game designer. They all fight a lot.
On top of that, Emma receives a harassing, sexually abusive message from another user of her game, throwing her world into a tailspin.
What happens next is both obvious and not. Because while it’s obvious that Rev and Emma will meet and find support in one another, I don’t know another book that does this kind of dark emotion as honestly, intensely, and impactfully – without losing the lightness of YA romance.
Brigid Kemmerer is absolutely amazing at banter. She just creates these incredible, swoony moments between love interests that just get you right in the feels. Rev and Emma were possibly even more loveable than Letters to the Lost’s Declan and Juliet (who are mentioned quite a bit, by the way). I loved how much Rev and Emma cared about each other and their home lives. I also loved how flawed they were in dealing with them. Kemmerer builds these characters so that their actions are never predictable, but also never come out of left field.
I also loved how More Than We Can Tell addressed issues with females in gaming and online harassment. Even though Emma is well aware of how trolling and the internet works, it’s still a shock when something like that happens to you, and the way Kemmerer presents and moves the plot forward was scary but realistic. I don’t know another book that addresses these issues so strongly.
The Final Word:
More Than We Can Tell was a more than worthy sequel to Letters to the Lost. It features similarly well-drawn characters, a really emotional plot that deals with serious issues well, and an addictive romance. It also explores loving families, male teen friendships, and sexism & harassment in gaming in a well-researched way. I loved this one and could barely put it down. Recommended for anyone who likes bad boys or dark contemporaries, but wants something a little lighter.
More Than We Can Tell is out in bookstores now! Will you be reading it? Have you read Letters to the Lost? Are you into bad boys who are really lone-wolf/good guys? How about gaming? Dark contemporaries with hope? Let me know in the comments!