Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Me, the Missing, and the Dead




Valentine, J (2008). Me, the Missing, and the Dead. NY: Harper Collins.
LS5385: YA Lit/Mystery
Hmmm. Which cover would I choose?  The audio is a bit more campy and might draw me in.  The middle is more appropriate now that I've read it, as the main character seems more "middle cover" than "first cover." I also think older teens would like the middle cover better and wonder if any of them would identify the audio cover as having an urn on it. (It looks a little like a chess piece. . .) Ah, the bigger questions in life.

I must say right out that I really liked this book. I was getting nervous because I'd glance at how many pages were left and couldn't see how in the world all would be resolved so quickly. And I had enjoyed the read and didn't want to be disappointed with a stinky ending. It was literally down to the last page of the book before the resolution, which was quite tidy, somewhat surprising, and pretty satisfactory. It left enough untold that I could decide what I thought probably happened - or not.

Valentine used some interesting formatting which I think, especially for the teen or reluctant reader, breaks up the monotony of reading. The main character, Lucas, is a list maker, so when he's confronted with a situation, he makes a list and the page is broken out that way. Sometimes I found the lists a bit tedious, but I think that's because I wanted to just keep reading. Interesting that I had low tolerance for the bulleted or numbered lists, as I am totally a list maker myself.

Also interesting was the style. I found I had to look back at the copyright a couple of times because it felt like the story wasn't in current times. Part of that may be that it's set in England, and the lingo, way of life and descriptions seem "old" to me. (for example, what teen would take a cab?) However, there were enough modern things sprinkled in (references to iPods, music groups, etc.) that I knew it was set in the here and now.

Some of the characters were more developed than others, but the main character (the "Me" of the title), his dad (the "Missing"), and Violet (the "Dead"), and also "Me's" grandmother, were all very rich and interesting.

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