Friday, January 25, 2013

Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine

This delightful novel for young adults was a pleasure to read. Based on a highly original plot, the book revolves around a teenage boy named Lucas Swain, whose father has been missing for several years. Late one night while in a taxi shop waiting for a cab to take him home, he notices an urn inside the shop. Curious about this peculiar object, he soon discovers that it contains the ashes of an elderly woman called Violet Park.

The ensuing story focuses on Lucas' search to find out more about Ms. Park. As he begins to unravel the mystery of this accomplished woman, he discovers hidden truths about his parents, as well as his paternal grandparents. In the process, he interacts with his older sister Mercy and younger brother Jed, which allows him to see how his family is filling the devastating hole that was created by his father's disappearance.

This book combines a captivating plot with fairly profound insights by the teenage Lucas. I was so engrossed by this story that I read it nonstop, cover-to-cover, in a roughly four-hour period. I was therefore not surprised to find out that this work won the 2007 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, as well as being considered for the Carnegie Medal in Literature, the Branford Boase Award and the Manchester Book Award.

I recently decided that I am going to build a library of children's and young adult books for my baby daughter, which she can read when she is older. As a a result, I have recently read several books aimed at a younger audience, with the aim of finding the best books to buy. This novel will certainly be on my list of novels to purchase for this collection.

4 out of 5 stars