Finding Violet Park
|Finding Violet Park|
First edition cover
|Genre||Young adult novel|
|3 January 2007|
|Media type||Print (paperback)|
Finding Violet Park, or Me, the Missing, and the Dead in the U.S., is a young adult novel by Jenny Valentine, published by HarperCollins in 2007. It is about a fatherless teenage boy, Lucas Swain, who finds an urn containing the ashes of the titular Violet Park abandoned in a minicab office and determines to lay her to rest. HarperCollins published the first US edition April 2008, entitled Me, the Missing, and the Dead.
Valentine won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers. The novel was also highly commended for the Branford Boase Award, and was longlisted for the 2008 Manchester Book Award.
Jenny Valentine is also the author of Broken Soup, The Ant Colony, and The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight.
Lucas Swain is a sixteen year old whose father left five years ago under mysterious circumstances. Lucas is now living with his mother Nicky, his brother Jed, and sister Mercy. In the beginning of the novel Lucas is going to the Apollo Cars cab shop to get a cab so he can get home. Then he sees an urn inside the cab shop and a mysterious name runs through his head, Violet. He then starts having an obsession with Violet because he is sure that she has something to tell him about his missing father.
Lucas then starts fantasising about what it would be like to be old. How he wants to act, where he wants to be buried, and whether his father is dead. Then he thinks of his grandmother Pansy, or the family medium, who he asks to get Violet from the cab shop. Later the person known to Lucas as Tony Soprano or the cab shop owner came by to give Violet “back” to Pansy. Norman, Pansy’s husband, almost ruins the plan by shouting out the random things he does because of his small strokes and subsequent memory loss.
Later Lucas goes home to a worried and frustrated mother and a caring family friend and more whose name is Bob. Bob later tells Lucas that he and Pete were writing a book about violet and where she used to live. Shocked, Lucas decides to investigate more into Violet. Later, while Norman, Jed, and Lucas are walking their dog Jack, Norman has a brilliant moment and tells Jed as much as he can about Pete and Violet before the next lapse of memory loss kicks in.
Later Nicky decides that to get rid of Pete’s memory, they should get rid of his things. That is when Lucas finds Pete's pocket watch and knows something isn’t right. Lucas and Nicky get into a fight about abandoning Pete’s memory but Lucas finds the crucial piece of evidence to show something is wrong even though Nicky doesn't want to hear it. After some probing, he realizes that Bob knows a lot about Pete and subsequently he fits everything together after a visit to Bob.
After more searching Lucas finally finds something that shocks him. His father is still alive, living under a completely different alias.
- Lucas Swain: The protagonist, almost 16 and with a life full of problems one day encounters violet in a cab shop sparking the search for his father.
- Violet Park: The dead lady, a famous pianist who somehow knew Lucas’ father.
- Pete Swain: Lucas's missing father, went missing five years ago and has a strange connection to Violet.
- Martha Hooper: Lucas's girlfriend, one of the only people who believes Lucas and helps him through his search.
- Nicky Swain: Lucas's mother, an overprotective lady who still misses her husband even though she hides it.
- Pansy Swain: Lucas's grandmother, believes in spirits and one of the only people to believe Lucas and helps him get Violet.
- Norman Swain: Lucas's grandfather, the war veteran who had a stroke and now can’t remember a thing, until he hears about Violet. Then he remembers about Pete and who he is.
- Bob Cutforth: The family friend and an old friend of Pete’s. He helps the family get through the five years by steadily getting closer to Nicky.
- Jed Swain: The brother, Lucas’s little brother who Norman tells everything to.
- Mercy Swain: The sister, the tomboy sister who doesn't look good in masculine clothes.
- Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2007 (top page). guardian.co.uk. 2012-08-06.
- "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". guardian.co.uk 12 March 2001. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- Branford Boase Award
- Manchester Book Award