Every Missing Piece

Little, Brown. May 2020. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368048958.
Gr 5-7–Sixth grader Maddy Gaines wants her old life back: before her father died, before her anxiety caused her to keep a rescue ladder under her bedroom window, and before her best friend, Cress, became interested in boys and skin care. But as Cress tells Maddy, “You have to get used to it.” As Maddy navigates a relationship with Stan, her mother’s new husband, and the changing dynamics of her friendship with Cress, she is also confronted with a mystery. Walking in the neighborhood graveyard one day, Maddy meets Eric, a boy who reminds her of Billy Holcomb who has been missing for six months. Maddy wants to share her discovery with her mom, but after so many false alarms fueled by her anxiety, she decides to say nothing. As she gathers evidence to support her conviction that Eric is actually Billy, Maddy has the opportunity to reconsider assumptions she’s made about her friends and Stan. She slowly begins to connect with Stan and appreciate that he is making a genuine effort to be a part of Maddy’s life. When she learns the true story of what happened to Billy and his mother, Maddy is also forced to understand some hard truths about the realities of the emotional and physical effects of domestic violence.
VERDICT In this heartfelt story about a family struggling through adjustments big and small, Maddy’s efforts to make sense of the changes in her life will inspire young readers.

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