BOOK REVIEW: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma BerquistMissing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
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Synopsis:

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club. But Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge. Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.

Thank you Edelweiss, Greenwillow books and Emma Berquist for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Shoulders bump mine, and I grit my teeth as deaths wash over me in a sticky gray wave. I only get flashes, but it’s enough; all these plump, dimpled cheeks, thick hair, and painted nails, I glimpse the way it ends. Throat cancer, aneurysm, pneumonia. They beam even white teeth, and all I can see are the skulls smiling beneath.

What drew me to this book was this unique setting: Lexi can see anyone’s death with a simple touch. And if that was not hard enough, she can also talk with, touch and expel ghosts to the “other side.”

Lexi is a tough girl, who has a soft spot for her grandfather, who has the same powers as herself and Trevor, a teenage ghost who hangs around Lexi. She works at a bar with others who have a wide array of powers, but which are only featured sparingly in the book. However, the bar plays a large significance overall. Lexi also has an on and off relationship with Phillip, who also works at the bar, but struggles to be with him due to her ability to see his death every time they touch, which is an understandable downer.

Because being with you makes me lonelier than being alone. Because I can’t stop picturing your body on a cold metal table.

One night, Lexi accidentally bumps into a girl outside the club named Jane. She sees that Jane will be murdered that night, but doesn’t do anything about it, because as she has learned, there are serious repercussions for interfering with fate.

Jane then reappears as a ghost, and convinces Lexi and Trevor to help her figure out who killed her and if it is related to other killings in the area. Lexi does her best, but her powers weigh on her mental health heavily. Several times over the course of the novel, she is forced to check herself into a psych ward just to tune out the world and get some much-needed sleep. I really appreciated that this was included, as it rings incredibly true. Someone with this kind of power, who could not shut it off, would probably be overwhelmed. These scenes also lead to a small but cute relationship she develops with a doctor at the hospital.

Even without turning around, I can sense Jane behind me, feel the gravitational pull of her. I can’t escape it; she’s like my compass, like a lodestone. I always know where Jane is.

As Lexi and Jane work to solve Jane’s murder, they also become far closer to each other and begin to develop feelings for each other. While I certainly enjoyed their relationship, I was also struggled with the world-building that allowed for physical interactions for Lexi and Jane. You always see ghosts as corporeal, which Jane and Trevor are 99% of the time, except with Lexi. I wish I could put into better words why this slightly missed the mark for me, as I did like Lexi and Jane together, but ultimately I didn’t love them together or the fact that romance was such a major factor in this book. I guess I could have been OK if it would have stayed as mostly a creepy thriller book with just a small emphasis on a love story.

I loved the premise of this book so much. It was such a cool idea and unfortunately I think it was squandered away a little bit, focusing too much on romantic relationships and tying up the ending with a big shiny bow. This easily could have been a really cool and creepy series – there’s so many directions this could have gone and areas to be explored, especially all the side characters with different powers – but it just ended up being a very narrow story. I just wanted more from this and ultimately left feeling OK, but not great.

This book will be released on May 21, 2019.