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.
Rach + Draco