Book review: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

Title: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication date: 21 May 2019

Genre: Fantasy | Young adult

Page extent: 384 pages

Thank you Emma (the author) and Vicky Who Reads for running the giveaway in which I won a copy of this book.

Missing, Preusmed Dead combines elements of mystery, thriller, contemporary fantasy, romance and a dark, gritty atmosphere to create an intense and heart-racing book about ghosts and lonliness and death.

This book tells the story of Lexi, a girl who can sense when and how someone will die, and Jane, the girl Lexi didn’t try to save. When Jane returns as an angry ghost, Lexi tries to hunt down the murderer to help Jane. They get caught up in a bigger mystery though, as it turns out the murderer has killed before and plans to kill again.

This book was a LOT darker than I expected – which I am SO happy with. It was such a dark, gritty and grim setting and atmosphere. It really felt like we were halfway between life and death, you could sense the ‘wrongness’ in the atmosphere which was so effective in portraying Lexi’s state of mind.

I love the way Missing, Presumed Dead explores mental illness in a fantasy world. It’s so rare to read a book which looks at the mental impact of having magic. Lexi can sense when people will die. If she touches them, she views their death in all the horrifically, gruesome ways it happens. She can’t stand being around people because of it. She can’t stand crowds or friends or anything living because all she can see and taste and smell and hear are their deaths. So she’s lonely, depressed, struggling to find a reason to live. To get away from the constant sense of death, Lexi checks herself into a psychiatric ward when it becomes too much, the only place she can get any quiet. The way Lexi’s mental health is examined is absolutely phenomenal. Emma writes with such intense emotion and I felt a lump in my throat the whole book. It was just so well written and felt so real.

I also loved the mystery/thriller aspect of the book. I was absolutely hooked on the mystery, wanting to find out who or what was killing people. I loved the added creepiness of the paranormal activity. I loved the idea that ghosts are created from the energy of someone’s death – so those killed violently are angry, venegful ghosts. It was such an interesting theory, and seeing how Lexi’s power could interact with the dead to push them ‘on’ was so cool! I loved that the mystery held paranomal elements to it as well, so you were never really sure what was going on.

This book wasn’t quite what I expected – instead, it was a darker, grittier but SO FANTASTIC magical thriller. The portrayal of mental illness was so well done, and the way magic interacted with mental illness felt very unique. Plus, queer girls. Which is the cherry on top of an extremely great cupcake.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

6 thoughts on “Book review: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

  1. […] Missing, Presumed Dead is one of my favourite reads this year so far. It focuses on the mental impact of having magic, specifically magic that means whenever you touch someone, you see how they die. When Jane comes back to haunt Lexi after being murdered, Lexi vows to help find the killer. This book is AMAZING!!!! It’s was much darker than I expected, but so thrilling. The mystery, the magic, the gritty atmosphere, it was all awesome. You can find my full reviw here! […]


  2. […] This book is so awesome – it’s dark and gritty, fantastic portrayal of mental illness, oh and a girl who falls in a love with a ghost?! Lexi has the power to see when a person dies – if she touches them, she sees their death. When she see’s the death of Jane, it’s particularly violent. And then Jane comes back as a ghost, to exact revenge on her killer and Lexi, feeling guilty for not saving Jane, helps her hunt the killer down. This has magic, mystery, thriller elements and I loved the MC Lexi. I loved how the book shows how the magic really impacts on Lexi, and how lonely she is because of it – I feel like it’s really rare to see such a horrifically negative impact of magic on someone? Usually even if bad things happen, there is still wonder in having the magic – but in Missing, Presumed Dead it really is such a burden for Lexi, and it’s so emotional at points as we see Lexi suffer. I have a full review of this book here! […]


  3. […] Missing, Presumed Dead was a book that really surprised me this year! It had such an interesting premise, but I didn’t expect to be quite so blown away by this book as I was. IT IS AMAZING! It is so dark (way way more dark than I thought it would be!), so gritty, and there is such a haunting depiction of how magic could impact mental health, it’s just stunning. Also it has terrifying revenge driven ghosts – definitely fits my favourite creepy books… Full review here! […]


  4. […] The final fantasy I’m going to talk about is Missing, Presumed Dead which I think might almost rival The Fever King for the amount of times it has been mentioned on this blog. This book follows Lexi, a woman who knows when and how a person can die after touching them. When she fails to save Jane, Jane returns as a ghost and gets Lexi’s help to hunt down her murderer. This book is so dark and gritty and totally unexpected! I absolutely adored that magic wasn’t portrayed as something good and brilliant to have – Lexi’s power is seriously damaging to her mental health, and I loved the portrayal of mental illness in a fantasy setting. For more info, check out my review here! […]


  5. […] I won a copy of Missing, Presumed Dead in a Twitter giveaway (pretty much one of the only things I’ve ever won in a giveaway or raffle situation). And it also had the honour of being my first ever SIGNED book, so it has a rather special place in my heart. And that’s on top of it being an incredible f/f ghost romance murder thriller. Whenever Lexi touches someone, she sees their death in vivid detail. When she forsees Jane’s death, she does nothing to try stop it. So, when Jane comes back to haunt her, Lexi agrees to help her hunt down the killer. This is a very dark and gritty book, but with a very realistic take on what it would actually be like to have this magic power. Lexi is deeply depressed and lonely, and I love that this book really talked about the shitty sides of having magic. Check out my full review here. […]


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