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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: Me, the Missing, and the Dead

Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: April 6th, 2010 (first published January 3rd 2007)
Pages: 224
Age Level: 13+

Fifteen-year-old Lucas Swain hasn’t seen his father for five years. One day, his dad just vanished. And the strange thing is, except for Lucas, nobody seems to care.

Then things really take a turn for the bizarre when Lucas discovers someone who might be able to help find his father. Her name is Violet, and she's reaching out to Lucas. But it would all be so much easier if Violet wasn't a pie of ashes in an urn.

At a time when I’m starting to notice numerous patterns throughout YA literature, I finally find the book that breaks them all. Me, the Missing, and the Dead is that unique breath of fresh air I’ve been so desperately needing.

Lucas is an observant and perceptive character; the way he views things, on both simple and more complex levels, is just so intriguing and enlightening. This combined with his dry humor, which I find much more appealing than your typical, “outright, trying to be funny” humor, makes for an excellent combination. Lucas also has this slight innocence and a hopefulness about him which I found to be heartwarming and a bit sad, all at the same time. On top of that, he is just so real, relatable, and well-developed; I feel like he's someone I could just happen to meet one day and I automatically felt a connection to Lucas along with an urge to learn his story. In other words, Lucas Swain is mine so don't even bat an eyelash at him, capiche?

As for some of the other characters, I found Violet to be unique and intriguing. I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that she's a dead ole lady in an urn but also because of the profound effect she had on, well, everything. I loved Lucas's grandmother, Pansy; she was just so spunky and she really made me laugh. Jed, Lucas's brother, was adorable. Mercy, Lucas's sister, is a serious piece of work as was Lucas's mom, Nick(y). At times I hated Nick(y) but I also really pitied her too. Then Martha, she wasn't in the book much but I couldn't help wishing I had her for a best friend.

Me, the Missing, and the Dead is simple yet effective and wholly satisfying. There's only a hint of romance, no supernatural element, and no serious action; instead, it’s just the story of a boy searching for the truth about his father. That and he just so happens to have a somewhat spiritual connection with a dead ole lady, which does have it's role in the story. There was a sense of mystery and suspense that kept me eagerly turning the pages and the book centers around family and truth more than anything else, which was an aspect I loved and respected. It was also the perfect blend of humor and seriousness; at times I'd be laughing out loud, and at other times, tears would be forming in my eyes. I also think Valentine did an excellent job plotting out the story.

The writing style was very refreshing and enjoyable. One thing I liked about it was that it was slightly more internal than most books. Normally, this might would bother me but Lucas is just such a great and fascinating character that I ended up really enjoying this about the book. It was also a fast paced and fairly easy read and I loved how noticeably British it was in atmosphere, context, and dialogue.

The ending was gripping and really sent me down a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I was a mixture of happy, angry, and sad all jumbled in together. I wasn't really sure what kind of an ending I was going to get so I was a bit surprised and I got to say, I was really proud of what Lucas did in the very end. I found I wanted to pick this book right back up and read it again after finishing it.

In the end, even what I've already mentioned isn't enough to describe how much I truly loved this book. It's everything I've been looking for; compelling, original, and not relying on romance, action, or supernatural creatures to drive the story. Though it still has an excellent and enticing plot, it's definitely more of a character driven novel and what lovely, emotional and thought-provoking characters it has too. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, young and old. It's an absolute favorite of mine and I can't wait to read it again.

Characters: A+
Writing: A-
Plot: A
Ending: A-
Enjoyment/Likability: A+
Recommendable: A+
Cover: B+

Overall: A


Bookish in a Box said...

I hadn't heard of this before, but it sounds really good. Thanks for reviewing it!

Unknown said...

Sounds great! I think I would enjoy reading this. Thanks for the review.

A Life Bound By Books said...

Thanks so much for this review! Makes me want to read it even more. It's been on my wish list for awhile - I'll have to move it up to the top of that list and get it soon.


PS - if my blog is still showing up weird for you, maybe subscribe to it, then just head there when you want to leave a comment? Might make reading it easier. Just a thought :) Talk to you later! Oh wait... I left you a tweet too :)

Katie said...

This is the first I have really heard about this book and you have convinced me that I need to read it. I can't wait to pick up a copy. Awesome review!

Eleni said...

Nice review, I never heard of this book :)

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I haven't heard of this one, but you've convinced me to make sure I get a copy very soon. It does sound like it will definitely stand out. Thanks for the review :)

Mary not so Contrary said...

Great review!! Sounds like a great book. I will for sure check it out. Thanks for your review!

Sandy said...

Phenomenal review. PHE-NOM-MIN-AAAAL. I didn't even know about this book until now. Thank you very much for pointing it out!

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Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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