Missing, Presumed Dead

384p. HarperCollins/Harper. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062642813.
Gr 9 Up—Horror meets mystery in this supernatural whodunit for lovers of murder and suspense. Lexi is cursed with two abilities: she can interact with ghosts and can tell how someone is going to die through physical contact. This unusual combination of skills has led to extreme isolation, with her only contacts being other members of Los Angeles's supernatural underground. By day she frequents mental hospitals and tries to keep her head above water financially. At night, she bartends and runs errands at one of the only paranormal bars in town. The "errands" are mostly putting ghosts to rest, not a bad job for someone who hates being around the living. Her community is shaken when murders start cropping up in their usually protective area and Lexi is unfortunate enough to run into one of the victims the night before she is murdered, drawing Lexi into the puzzle of who is killing and why. The combination of horror and mystery genres opens up the readership for this book, as does the LGBTQ+ character and the appealing sense of isolation that many teens struggle with. There is enough kissing and boy drama for those who prefer romance in their novels, and enough bodies and swearing for the readers who want fear and grittiness. Lexi's kind relationship with her grandfather fleshes her out, taking her from a stock character to someone more three-dimensional.
VERDICT A fun, fast-paced read for students looking for a thrill.

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