Me, the Missing, and the Dead
By Jenny Valentine
(HarperTeen, Hardcover, 9780060850685, 208pp.)
Publication Date: April 2008
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Me: Lucas Swain—I'm nearly sixteen years old and live in London. I was fairly normal until the night I found Violet. Then everything changed.
The Missing: Dad. He disappeared five years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him, and nobody cares except me. It's enough to drive you crazy.
The Dead: That's Violet . . . in the urn. Speaking of crazy—I know she's trying to tell me something, and I think it's about my father. . . .
A dead lady may not be much to go on, but my dad's out there somewhere, and it's up to me to find out where.
Jenny Valentine worked in a food shop for fifteen years, where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic bread than there are words in her first book. She studied English literature at Goldsmith's College, which almost made her stop reading but not quite. Her debut novel, Me, the Missing, and the Dead, won the prestigious Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the UK under the title Finding Violet Park. Jenny is married to a singer/songwriter and has two children. She lives in Hay on Wye, England.
“An impressive debut. Valentine offers a rich cast of characters and marvelous writing.”
“Lucas’ pitch-perfect voice and authentic family relationships, the mild psychic element, and the poignant, coming-of-age mystery will stay with the reader long after the book ends. Valentine’s debut novel shines richly.”
-ALA Booklist (starred review)
“Charmingly told, this mystery manages to be both frothy and nourishing.”
“Compulsively readable. A memorable new voice.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Valentine sets in motion a dark comedy. The mystery that unravels...will keep readers entertained.”
-Horn Book Magazine
“Part mystery, part magical realism, part story of personal growth, and in large part simply about a funny teenager making light of his and his family’s pain, this short novel is engaging from start to finish.”
-School Library Journal (starred review)