Who Is Eddie Leonard?

Harry Mazer, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (188p) ISBN 978-0-385-31136-6
Mazer ( Snow Bound ) offers a Sommersby of sorts for YA readers, a darker version of Caroline Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton . A teenage boy shows up on the Diaz family's doorstep holding a Missing Child poster and claiming to be their lost son, Jason, the boy in the poster. The Diazes--Connie, Bruce and daughter Miller--are immediately suspicious of this newcomer's motives. But after he sprains an ankle and can't walk, they let him stay temporarily, though they don't know whether to call him Jason or Eddie, the name given to him by the recently deceased woman who raised him and who may or may not have been his grandmother. After Jason/Eddie gets into serious trouble and well after Mazer establishes that the family never quite trusts him, Bruce locates the boy's birth certificate, proving he is not Jason Diaz after all. Mazer does a better job with internal monologue than with dialogue, and there are a few too many scenes in which Jason/Eddie repeats ``I'm Jason. Jason Diaz,'' to the family's skeptical reactions. But the character does work, at least partially, as a metaphor for the alienation that many teenagers feel. Readers may also appreciate the unsentimental treatment of the main character, who is far from perfect and far from innocent. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1993
Release date: 11/01/1993
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