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Me, the Missing, and the Dead
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Me, the Missing, and the Dead

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  1,291 ratings  ·  234 reviews
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 m...more
Hardcover, 201 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Harper Teen (first published January 3rd 2007)
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2009 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
42nd out of 86 books — 217 voters
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Community Reviews

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There's a little bit of suspension of disbelief (LOTS of coincidences)to totally enjoy this book, but enjoy it you should. It reads fast, but unfolds slowly, and has a highly satisfactory ending that shouldn't come as a surprise, but did to me.
Watermelon Daisy

Jenny Valentine is one of those authors who will always be a "three star" author to me. She has this weird sense of bizarre logic which I can't help loving, but she can't fool me into thinking any of her stories could be real. The covers of her books are always pretty. Just saying.

I quite like Lucas's thoughts. Although there were a zillion commas missing, and though people suppose boys to speak in a snappy way, Lucas doesn't seem like the snappy type. He's too nic...more
Eva Mitnick
In a nutshell – London teenager Lucas Swain bonds emotionally with the cremated remains of an old famous pianist named Violet, causing him to come to a greater understanding not just of old people, but also of himself, his family, and his long-vanished dad. Oh, and Lucas gets quite a great girlfriend as well.

This is an unusual premise but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was no hint of cloying quirkiness about this book. Young Lucas knows that communing with a dead old lady’s as...more
Angelina Justice
This novel gets four stars for many reasons, but at the top of the list is that it is a short novel. This makes it an easier sell to reluctant readers, especially guys. Guys are my second top reason for giving four stars. This book is written from a "guy" perspective in a voice that resonates with how boys/men think and communicate.

Women, and maybe even many men, often forget that the "real" male and the fictional male are often worlds apart. Novels abound with stereotypes of men both positive a...more
A coming of age story about a London teen whose father disappeared five years before. Lucas Swain is a likeable character who doesn't have many friends and absolutely no girlfriends. He has wondered why his father left and begins to put the peices together when he becomes convinced an urn of ashes begins speaking to him. The ashes, or Violet Park, as she was known, was an artist who hired Lucas' dad to write her biography. I learned it is difficult to come to terms with what our parents are real...more
Original review posted here:

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...more
Lucas Swain is almost sixteen years old, and his dad has been missing for five years when he meets Violet Park on a shelf at a cab office. Thing is, Violet Park is more than a little bit dead and living in an urn at the time.

But Lucas knows that she has something to tell him. Even though she's no longer among the living.

As Lucas tries to unearth the truth about Violet Park and what she wants from him, he realizes that there may have been a connection between Violet Park and his missing father. T...more
Michele Velthuizen
Interest level: 8th +
Reading level: medium
Genre: Trial by Fire, mystery, fathers and sons, families, assisted suicide

When Lucas walks into a cab station and spots an urn with the ashes of a stranger called Violet Park - unclaimed for months by a passenger who left it in a cab - he can't stop thinking about who Violet was and why she ended up forgotten and forlorn on a shelf in a cab office. With the help of his grandmother, Lucas decides to steal the urn and find out what exactly happened to Vio...more
This was a pleasant discovery. Thanks, children's librarian that stood this one up on top of the bookshelf! I loved how nonchalantly Valentine treats the part of the plot where Lucas communicates with a dead old lady. It's not a magical, mystical book — it's a gritty, sensible book where the protagonist happens to find an urn and chat with the occupant. I appreciate books for kids that acknowledge that parents do a bad job sometimes, that things can really suck, that "old people" aren't just cut...more
es ist die geschichte des 16jährigen lucas, der in einem taxibüro die urne der toten violet park entdeckt und von ihr nicht mehr loskommt. er nimmt sich ihrer an und versucht über sie einiges in erfahrung zu bringen. über die beschäfigung mit ihr erkennt lucas das wesen seines vaters, der die familie vor jahren verlassen hat. der tod von violet und das verschwinden von lucas vater hängen eng zusammen.
manchmal wundert man sich, dass lucas schon 16 jahre alt ist, er benimmt sich nicht immer so. e...more
Valentine’s Me, the Missing, and the Dead starts out promisingly enough: Lucas takes a cab home one evening (well, early morning, technically), and becomes drawn to an urn left in the smoke-filled, gritty rooms of the cab company. Someone left behind the ashes of a “loved one,” Violet, and Lucas feels she is communicating with him from the other side. He finagles a way to get Violet in his possession, and thus begins the tie-in to his missing father, a mystery that has been unsolved for years.[r...more
Amazingly good and enjoyable. 16-year-old Lucas goes to a cab station one night and finds the urn of a woman named Violet, abandoned in a cab several years ago. The next day, he realizes that he needs to get that urn and do something for Violet. He enlists his grandmother's help to claim the urn, and begins a journey that leads him to discover not only who Violet was, but why his own father disappeared 5 years ago. I loved it.
This novel is on the narrow edge between realistic fiction and a ghost story. The result is a fascinating tale of a teenaged boy, his missing father, and what may or may not be the ghost of a woman whose ashes were left in the office of a taxi company.
It reminds me of the Terry Pratchett "Johnny" novels, but with less slapstick, possibly because much of the story is very British and has bits of dry English humor.
Sweet, surprising and wonderfully written, this story shows how easily the faults and secrets of ourselves and those around us can cause life-changing damage, but also be overcome. I sped through this in one sitting - it's that kind of book.
Nesa Sivagnanam
This is the story of how a sixteen year old boy called Lucas Swain met an old lady called Violet Park. Only their relationship is not an ordinary one... Violet Park was dead and in a box on a shelf. Lucas finds Violet's ashes at 5 o'clock in the morning on a dark night, in a minicab office and from then on he embarks on a journey of discovery. About who Violet was, who he is, the point he has reached in his life and what needs to happen next.

Lucas is a normal sixteen year old boy. He has a sarc...more
I was originally going to rate this book 3 stars because it was slow starting and until about half way through I was convinced it lacked plot and was just a simple light read I could enjoy, but wasn't amazed by. But the ENDING was awesome! I still wouldn't classify this as a favourite because I managed to read it in one day and found the characters weren't too interesting, but I still really enjoyed reading it :)
It's worth reading at least because it didn't hurt! It wasn't something I got overly...more
I didn't know it the book had changed its title, the copy I have is "Finding Violet Park" which I think is actually "Finding Lucas Swain's Bastard of a dad" than the given title but I suppose if that happens, it would be like something out of a Fall Out Boy album. The plot is actually pretty ordinary but the main character's precise observation skills is quite unforgettable, it makes you notice things and that's a good thing. There's always room for knowledge. I think the ending is very clever,...more
One night, 15-year-old Lucas Swain enters a taxicab company office and is immediately attracted to a strange urn sitting on the shelf. He learns that it contains the ashes of one Violet Park, a well-known pianist who lived in the neighborhood, and that the urn was left in the backseat of a taxi years ago. Lucas doesn't understand exactly why Violet called out to him from the dead, but he feels certain that it has something to do with his father's disappearance five years ago. Peter Swain, lifeti...more
Summary: 16-year-old Lucas finds an old lady in an urn, who just so happens to have some connection to his missing dad. If he can find out who the dead lady was, can he find his dad?

Review: From the brief description of this on Amazon, I wasn’t interested. It sounded like a ghost story, and I don’t do ghost stories. Or scary movies, for that matter. I’ve been known to sleep with the light on after a particularly creepy episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for Pete’s sake.

But this book was a fina...more
Nina Rosas
My first reaction in the begining of this book was that it was going to be an awkward book and yet it got my attention right away.What got my attention was the plot of this book and how i thought it was going to play out. By the middle of the story when the main character starts to learn about this dead lady my reaction was that the main character had to be crazy and that somehow this was going to lead him to his missing dad. i was very confused though on how that might play out. whether his fat...more
Ruth Govaerts
Hoe kom je er in godsnaam bij om een oude, dode dame in huis te nemen?!
Ik zou het persoonlijk maar akelig vinden, maar in dit boek is het heel normaal. Ach, waarom ook niet?

Dit verhaal gaat over een jonge kerel die op zoektocht gaat naar zijn vader en daarbij ook meteen naar zichzelf. Men heeft mij weten te vertellen dat het ook over de pubertijd gaat, maar dat vind ik niet - pubergedachten zijn veel gecompliceerder & pubers denken heus niet na zoals deze jongen doet- hij is best volwassen,...more
This has been a book on my tbr list for a while now and therefore I decided to borrow it at the library. I thought it would be a good mystery story with an unique twist. I’m sorry to let you know, that this was not my cup of tea. And I really like tea!

The thing I didn’t like was that I didn’t get to know Lucas character at all. I know he is 16, likes to make lists, has a older sister, a younger brother and a mother who wishes she could rewind time. He also misses his father a lot and wearing his...more
This book is about Lucas Swain,a teenager, who accidentally stumbles upon an urn in a desolate cab station. Somehow, the urn starts communicating with him and Lucas gets to know that the ashes in the urn belong to an old lady - Violet Park who died an year ago. Some compelling events and incidents lead Lucas to discovering a new side to his lost father.
Clearly, this book surpasses most of the YA novels I've read. The revelation of a new side of a human character is always hard to take in, and J...more
Steph Bowe
Finding Violet Park is a funny and original novel. It tells the story of Lucas Swain, our peculiar narrator, and how he comes to know Violet Park – a woman who has been dead for five years, who he finds in an urn in a taxi office. The Swain family have their own problems – Lucas’ father has been missing for years, and Lucas’ mother can’t deal with it anymore. Over the course of the novel, Lucas gets to know his grandparents better, deceives a Tony Soprano look-a-like in order to steal the ashes...more
Julie H.
Me, the Missing, and the Dead is the story of 17-year old Lucas Swain who becomes mesmerized by an urn abandoned in the Appolo Cab offices in London. The threads of this elderly woman's life and death, the unresolved disappearance of Lucas' father five years ago, and the coming of age sorts of stuff that a bright but undirected 17-year old faces are interwoven with grace, humor, and subtlety.

After involving his grandmother, Pansy, in convincing the cab company's owner (who bears a striking rese...more
I started reading this book with very high expectations. Not only is Jenny Valentine one of my all-time favourite writers, but this is also her first book and it got a lot of good reviews. I must say I was a little bit disappointed after I finished reading. The book wasn’t bad, it was very good actually, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

There were a lot of things about this book I liked. I liked Jenny Valentine’s writing style, this is one of my favourite things about her books, although I tho...more
El Templo de las Mil Puertas
"Pocas, muy pocas, son las novelas juveniles que tratan el tema de la muerte. Lo que no deja de ser algo normal, teniendo en cuenta el rechazo que existe en nuestra actual sociedad hacia algo tan natural como es morirse. La muerte no es guay y, desde luego, no mola nada; así que alejamos los cementerios todo lo posible de nuestras urbes, para evitar tener que pensar en ella. Como decíamos, hay pocas obras: Busco a Violet Park es una de esas excepciones. Lucas, el protagonista de esta historia, e...more
Brooke Shirts
Funny and heartbreaking:

Dreamy, slacker-ish Lucas Swain is seventeen and idolizes his journalist father, who has been missing for six years. Walking into a taxi agency after a night of partying, he sees a funerary urn sitting in the lost and found. It holds the remains of a woman named Violet Park, and Lucas finds that he just can't get her out of her mind. Is Violet contacting Lucas from beyond the grave?

When Lucas decides to follow these supernatural promptings, it leads him on a hunt for clue...more
Lucas is still coming to terms with his father’s disappearance despite the many years that have passed. If only he knew what really happened. Was he hurt, was he abducted by aliens, was he in jail and couldn’t get to a phone? Lucas tries to make excuses for his father, but the truth of the matter is he doesn’t know what happened.

Stopping for a cab early one morning he is drawn to an urn that is residing in the cab office. Who knows exactly why Lucas was drawn to the urn, but sometimes we feel co...more
When I picked up this book to begin reading it, I really wanted to be able to give it 4 or 5 stars. However, there were a few reasons why I couldn't. No fiction novel can be expected to truly reflect reality, and I think I'd be letting myself in for a big disappointment if I began reading any book with that expectation. However, I really do feel that there were far too many coincidences and events which Valentine left at a loose ends, which left the story somewhat incomplete. I would have liked...more
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Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Lite...more
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“What's wrong with the world Peter?
God, I don't know. Where do you start? People give up. We're defeatists and we stop striving or fighting or enjoying things. It doesn't matter what you're talking about - war, work, marriage, democracy, love, it all fails because everybody gives up trying after a while, we can't help ourselves. And don't ask me to solve it because I am the worst. I'd escape tomorrow if I could, from every single thing I've always wanted.”
More quotes…