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Finding Violet Park

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,784 Ratings  ·  290 Reviews
Narrated by the most compelling voice since Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, this is a quirky and original voyage of self-discovery triggered by a lost urn of ashes. The mini cab office was up a cobbled mews with little flat houses either side. That's where I first met Violet Park, what was left of her. There was a healing centre next door, a pretty smart nam ...more
200 pages
Published January 3rd 2007 by Harper Collins
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Watermelon Daisy
Jan 24, 2012 Watermelon Daisy rated it liked it

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
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.
Dec 27, 2016 Rowan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik had eigenlijk niet verwacht dat ik dit boek met zoveel plezier zou lezen, maar het zat goed in elkaar en heeft me aangenaam verrast!
Angelina Justice
Nov 11, 2011 Angelina Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
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
Jan 27, 2009 bjneary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
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
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
I requested this book through our library's ILL program. Usually I request a book because I owe a review on Net Galley and no longer have access to the ecopy, or it is on some Best of the Best list, etc - but for the life of me, I do not know why I requested this book! Despite that, it was a quick read.

Lucas discovers this urn with ashes in it at a cab office and feels drawn to it. Thinking about the urn later, he feels that Violet (the woman in it) is trying to communicate with him. He concoc
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
Feb 12, 2009 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, 2009
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
Eva Mitnick
Jan 01, 2009 Eva Mitnick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
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
Dec 17, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a person just has to solve the mystery. Why is there a cremation urn in the taxi stand? Whose is it? Who is the woman whose remains are in there? What does this have to do with me?
Lucas has a lot of questions. The first and most important is how he is going to deal with his father's disappearance. Why did dad leave? What did the family do to deserve this? Maybe he's dead? Secondly, how to rescue the woman in the urn. Obviously dead, she shouldn't have to live on the shelf in a stinky,
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
Mar 31, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 28, 2010 Viktoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, young-adult
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
Jan 19, 2016 LetTheReadingBegin_ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
For the first half of the book, it was more of a 3.5.
But towards the end it abruptly turned into 4 stars .
Jenny Valentine has created a brilliant piece of work. She's thought up an amazing, unforgettable character, which is Lucas Swain. Considering the size of the book, she made so much room for critical thinking & personal reflection on life. & I didn't get the cliche ending I was prepared for. Thank you!!
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.
Apr 03, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 05, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it liked it
Not the best writing in the world, but the plot was creative, memorable and interesting, and I liked the characters for the most part. I was hoping that this book would be a lot better than it was, but at least it was half-decent.
Dec 30, 2008 Marilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
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.
Quinty Lagrouw
I liked this book!
Veki Everdeen
Sep 13, 2016 Veki Everdeen rated it it was amazing
How are her books always this good???
Diana Welsch
Oct 25, 2016 Diana Welsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Lucas Swain is 15, lives in London, and his father mysteriously left the family five years ago. No one knows if he is dead or what, and no one will really talk about him. Lucas has been in the habit of lionizing his father, who he remembers as funny, handsome, and cool. But when he impulsively rescues an abandoned urn full of a dead woman's ashes from a taxicab office, it sets off a chain of events that helps him discover the truth: his dad was not all that good of a guy.

The plot device of Luca
Dec 24, 2016 Nim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The kind of raw, rare realism that makes you want to keep on reading. Innocent, clever, twisted and logical all at once.
Dec 26, 2016 Sujata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, ya
I think the cover is brilliant (much better than the photograph I have taken) and when I first got the book, I thought someone had actually doodled all over it. I remember thinking I liked it and at the same time wondered how could they sell such a book, even if it is second hand, until I read the blurb. Silly me.

I knew the book as Me, the Missing and the Dead (but I must confess I like the title Finding Violet Park better because it is a title that doesn’t give anything away) as it was release
Julie H.
Oct 04, 2009 Julie H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Doug Beatty
Apr 23, 2009 Doug Beatty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Me: Is Lucas Swain, who is a strange, grim character that wears his fathers clothes, spends time reading his mother’s diary, and becomes fascinated with the life of Violet Park, who he finds in an urn at a cab company when he goes there to get a ride home one evening. Violet is an old lady who starts to fascinate him, and he really feels that she doesn’t want her to be left at the cab company and devises a plan with her grandmother Pansy to convince the owner to let Violet come home with her. La ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
I completely adored this book. And what makes it all the more fantastic it that I wasn't expecting brilliance on this level. I was expecting a good read, yes. The only previous Jenny Valentine I'd read was the rather good 'The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight'. I enjoyed it, yes. It was a clever, taught little mystery, intelligently written, with a convincing voice. BUT I had a few niggles with certain aspects and this cast a little bit of a downer on it all.

When I read the synopsis for this, I
I’ve long believed that men and women react differently outwardly, but inside we feel the same pain. Having gone through a situation resembling Lucas’s, I felt his pain very keenly. His way of holding onto his father long after the disappearance seemed alien to me, and yet his thoughts and reasons for acting that way might have come straight from my mind. Possibly this has something to do with the author being female, but I doubt men on the literary awards panels would have let this book pass re ...more
Apr 12, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachel by: Margo
I recently got this in the mail from a friend who shares my weird junkie-like addiction to young adult literature. As long as it's well-written (and sometimes even if it's not), I'll rip through a good YA book. Sometimes I think authors of "adult" novels try too hard to be "arty" or "serious" and they forget that half the point is to write a good story. YA authors can't do that, because no one would buy their books. Sometimes, though, the voice of the main character is a bit too contrived, a bit ...more
Noor Jahangir
Jan 21, 2010 Noor Jahangir rated it liked it
The slogan on the front-cover of this book is a little misleading, which is something along the lines of, 'I met Violet after she died, that didn't stop me from getting to know her.' If you're expecting some dark romantic novel about a boy who falls in love with a zombie, as the trend is nowadays, (I'm in love with a vampire, I'm in love with a werewolf, I'm in love with a fallen angel, I'm in love with a ghost, I'm in love with an alien, I'm in love . . . you get the picture)this is not it.
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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.”
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