Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist: Ghosts, Murder Mysteries, & Angry Queer Girls

I’ve been Procrastinating™ this badly, but IT’S TIME TO SCREAM, Y’ALL.

Not only is this book a wonderful addition to YA mystery/thriller/horror (see, screams above) but it’s also just so damn good?

Like, this book sent me to my grave, so I could become a ghost and hang out with Lexi. SO GOOD.

From angry queer teen girls to revenge plots to murder mystery and ghost, witches, & paranormal magic, Missing, Presumed Dead packs both the actions & the feels.

I loved it.

Lexi is an icon.

Not only is she an Angry Queer Hoodie-Wearing Queen, but she’s also Stressed and Trying Her Best in this world where she gets berated with images of how people die if she touches them.

Sounds . . . pretty traumatic, and Lexi is going through A Lot.

But she’s so so strong, and she makes it through and grows and learns to let people in, and I love it. She’s tough and angry and hardened on the outside, but she’s also yearning and compassionate inside, and this dichotomy is part of what makes Missing, Presumed Dead so amazing.

Lexi’s complexity is demonstrated through her various relationships: with her grandfather, who also shares this ability, with Jane, the ghost she’s working with, and with her coworkers. She’s different in different environments, and it continues the idea of her intricate relationships with different people.

In short: Lexi is one of the coolest protagonists I’ve read, not just because of her ability, but also because of her inner strength.

Revenge! More revenge! Even more revenge! (Oh yes, kissing too.)

For all of you bloodthirsty readers out there, this is also a bit of a revenge book!

Jane (the ghost girl) who was brutally murdered is out for revenge, and it’s one of the driving forces of the plot. Lexi’s own guilt of knowing about Jane’s death is another reason the plot continues to move, and boy, does it move!

Although it has its pauses, it’s mostly pushing forward and trying to solve the mystery—as well as Lexi dealing with her own personal problems. It contrasts a search for a brutal murderer against character growth and bonding, and Berquist flawlessly sets up the romance in this gritty and darkly magical part of LA.

Jane and Lexi get ample time to bond while also interviewing witnesses and people who knew the murdered.

And if you didn’t guess already, of course it’s queer. They’re both bi/pan, I believe, and I ship it, hehe!

The worldbuilding was darkly delicious.

I mean, LA is a whole setting in itself, but a dark, gritty section of LA with people with magical affinities and ghosts? *cue delighted shudders*

Not only do we get to see some cool paranormal characters (witches and ghosts!) but there’s also just this general dark feeling lingering, both from the murder, and from some of Lexi’s feelings.

Berquist really captures the trauma Lexi experiences in the way the story has this cloud of darkness hanging over it, and I felt really immersed in the LA setting. It was a really transportive (is that a word?) read and I felt like I could have strolled through this area in broad daylight and still shivered a bit.

Overall, I loved this and I would totally recommend to . . .

  • People who love dark stories!
  • A little bit of magic & paranormal spook!
  • Tangible settings!
  • Murder mysteries!

It was such a great read, and I loved it even more than I enjoyed Berquist’s debut, Devils Unto Dust. If you want something like This Savage Song meets Sadie, definitely check out Emma Berquist’s Missing, Presumed Dead!

4.5 stars


With a touch, Lexi can see how people die. Some die gruesome deaths, others just wither with old age.

It’s a heavy burden to bear, and working for a club that protects people like her—people with magical abilities—gives her a semblance of normalcy in her life. Even the slightest touch can trigger these images, and Lexi’s resigned herself to keeping to herself and the ghosts she can see and talk to.

But when one of the people she brushes by, a girl named Jane who was gruesomely murdered, becomes a ghost, she’s not only Lexi’s new ghost companion, but an integral part of tracking down the serial killer of people around LA and the club’s area.

Lexi and Jane are on a time limit to find the killer and get revenge—or else more people could die.

add to goodreads here

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

After two days of posts, how convinced are you to read Missing, Presumed Dead?

8 thoughts on “Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist: Ghosts, Murder Mysteries, & Angry Queer Girls

  1. Vicky, thank you for writing about this book. I am going to write down the title in my little wish-list notebook. I have been searching for some nice queer lady stories. Ugh. I love how you bring in the setting and how it adds more to the story. I like when that happens in books. Would you say the book is dark (thematically I am sure it is, but I mean in terms of imagery or details)? How dark are we talking about here? (Um. I am a total wimp, that’s all).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OF COURSE! and I have many queer lady recs if you ever need them [insert eye emojis]

      it’s not dark if dark is defined as “gory and overly descriptive”! it’s not super explicit, and although there is ~murder~ and such, it doesn’t go into details too much. (i.e. Nevernight is WAY more dark than this, detail-wise) Emma doesn’t use explicit/gruesome stuff to shock her readers, she does it thematically ❤

      Lmk if you have more questions about that! I'm totally happy to answer them! ❤


  2. I’ve been seeing this around more and more, and idk, I may be the only one but I really missed ghost YA, so the idea of an f/f (!) ghost story has me so happy I could scream. It also helps that I’ve heard great things about it – and who doesn’t love a good revenge story!? Great review!

    Liked by 1 person


      I loooove the comeback of paranormal YA (but more diverse!) and seeing Renee Ahdieh & Caleb Roehrig publish vampire books (but racially diverse & gay, respectively!) in the coming years has me so excited ahhh

      Liked by 1 person

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