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Finding Violet Park

UK Publisher: HarperCollins

Published in the US as Me, The Missing and The Dead

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 name for a place with a battered brown door and no proper door handle and stuck-on wooden numbers in the shape of clowns. The 3 of number 13 was aw stuck on sideways and I thought it was kind of sad and I liked it at the same time.

Sixteen-year-old, Lucas Swain becomes intrigued by the urn of ashes left in a cab office. Convinced that its occupant – Violet Park – is communicating with him, he contrives to gain possession of the urn, little realising that his quest will take him on a voyage of self-discovery and identity, forcing him to finally confront what happened to his absent (and possibly dead) father…



Raw and fresh. — The Guardian

Lucas’s pitch-perfect voice and authentic family relationships, the mild psychic element, and the poignant, coming-of-age mystery will stay with the reader long after the book ends… Valentine’s debut novel shines richly like the polished wood of Violet’s urn.’ — Booklist

It’s difficult to pinpoint just what makes this British debut so quietly disturbing yet so compulsively readable… The novel raises serious questions about death even as it exposes the entrails of a broken family. Even with the heavy subject matter, Valentine gives humor free reign, as Lucas mouths off in cheeky British twang about his annoying sister, his lack of friends and his sense that he is the only one still holding a torch for his father… A memorable new voice. A first novel with a voice that sings. — Publisher’s Weekly

Part mystery, part magical realism, part story of personal growth, and in large part simply about a funny teenager making light of his and his family’s pain, this short novel is engaging from start to finish… especially in the all-too-human quirky family members and their willingness to employ creative methods to secure their ends as well as in the contemporary middle-class London setting. Throughout, Lucas’s tongue-in-cheek lists (e.g., “good reasons to make friends with a dead lady in an urn”) relieve the seriousness of his family’s situation and his relatively mature revelations about them and himself. Lucas steadily unravels the two mysteries – the deceased Violet and the missing Dad, Pete – and leaves readers with a highly satisfying surprise inside the final knot. — School Library Journal

Jenny Valentine is an award winning writer for Young Adults.  Her first novel Finding Violet Park won the Guardian prize...