cover image Missing Pieces

Missing Pieces

Norma Fox Mazer. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (196pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13349-8

Mazer (After the Rain; Taking Terri Mueller) demonstrates her continued mastery of YA themes and concerns with this densely packed story about a 14-year-old girl searching for the father who abandoned her in her infancy. Jessie admires her hardworking single mom and is devoted to her great-aunt Zis, but wishes her family were ``whole and perfect,'' made up of ``four sides, a square, not a triangle.'' The geometry of her relationships-her friendships, her place within her family-undergoes major reconstruction as Jessie begins questioning her father's disappearance and sets about locating him. Neither wistful nor self-pitying, Jessie, a spirited and witty narrator, is also trying to balance her attentions to her girlfriends, one of whom is jealous of the other, and to a boy, whom one of her friends also likes. Between snappy dialogue and tangy insights, Mazer thoughtfully explores issues of loyalty, compassion and forgiveness. Ages 12-up. (May)