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MISSING PIECES by Norma Fox Mazer


by Norma Fox Mazer

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 19th, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-13349-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 For years Jessie Wells has wondered about her father, James, who walked out on his family when she was just a baby and never returned, leaving her in the care of her mother and an aging aunt. By the time she is 14, her interest has become an obsession, fueled by her mother's refusal to adequately discuss the past. Angry and frustrated, Jessie decides to call all the people in the phone book with her last name. After finding a cousin, and visiting her father's hometown, Jessie confronts her mother, who relents and tells her everything. Then, in a preposterous plot twist, James comes into the restaurant where Jessie's mother works for lunch; he has become a computer whiz, in town on business. Jessie goes to confront him but backs off at the last minute. Mazer (Out of Control, 1993, etc.) never makes clear why Jessie is set on finding out about James, nor does she spell out when or how Jessie comes of age during her quest. A subplot about her aunt's failing memory is given fleeting, unsatisfactory treatment, as is a rift with a best friend. Mazer's fans will want to read this, but it is a weak story that comes nowhere near the author's many more original works. (Fiction. 12+)