Cover image for Someone's mother is missing
Someone's mother is missing
Mazer, Harry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 1990.
When her emotionally disturbed mother disappears from their home, Lisa searches for her, alternately aided and annoyed by her cousin Sam.
Reading Level:
480 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 3.4 5.0 57218.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.5 11 Quiz: 10673 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


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FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Sam's world turns upside down when his wealthy uncle dies and his emotionally fragile aunt walks out on his cousin. Suddenly cousins Lisa and Robyn must leave their comfortable house and move in with Sam's family. Sam's house is small and chaotic, and his mother is tough as nails. To make matter worse, Sam is attracted to the coolly beautiful Lisa, but she thinks he's a jerk. Confronted with the common goal of finding Lisa's mother, both Sam and Lisa are forced to face reality. Sam must accept that his mother will always lack finesse, and Lisa relizes her mother isn't as strong as she wants her to be. What else will Sam and Lisa discover as they pull together to search for Lisa's missing mother?

Author Notes

Harry Mazer was born on May 31, 1925 in New York City. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Force and received a Purple Heart and an Air Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters. He received a B.A. from Union College in 1948 and a M.A. in education from Syracuse University in 1960. Before becoming a full-time writer, he was as a welder in a factory, a railroad brakeman and switchtender for New York Central, and an English teacher.

He has written more than 20 books for young readers including Please, Somebody Tell Me Who I Am; My Brother Abe; The Last Mission; The Boy at War trilogy; The Wild Kid; The Dog in the Freezer; The Island Keeper; and Snow Bound. He along with his wife, Norma Fox Mazer, received an ALAN award in 2003 for outstanding contribution to adolescent literature. He died on April 7, 2016 at the age of 90.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 8-10. Focusing alternately on cousins Sam and Lisa, whose differing backgrounds have made them more enemies than friends, Mazer sets up an inventive scenario that sounds strange enough to be true. When Lisa's wealthy father dies and leaves the family penniless, her fragile mother loses touch with reality and walks out on Lisa and younger daughter, Robyn. Following several days of struggling alone, Lisa reluctantly approaches Sam's mother, whom she doesn't particularly like, and after some prevarication finally admits her mother has abandoned them. That Lisa's mother eventually turns up is probably the least believable part, but Mazer doesn't make the reunion idyllic by any means. Readers are made to understand the problems the family still faces. The growing bond between Lisa and Sam is more effectively achieved--from the teenagers' awkwardness and mutual dislike to the gradual growth of their respect and love. Mazer's purposeful juxtaposition of Sam's family (two strong-willed parents, including a mother who yells and delivers an occasional slap, even while she loves) with Lisa's makes it plain that there is no such thing as a perfect parent and that families grow and change all the time. ~--Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mazer's dramatic narrative concerns sisters Lisa and Robyn who, when their father dies and their mother abandons them, must adjust to a new life with aunt and uncle. and--most at issue--cousin Sam. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

When Lisa's father dies, the supposedly wealthy family is left penniless. As her mother learns the truth about their destitution, she can't cope and walks out, deserting Lisa and her younger sister, Robin. In desperation, Lisa turns to her cousin Sam's family for a needed but unwanted salvation. Sam sees Lisa as a desirable but unreachable object who is far superior to him in all aspects of life; Lisa sees Sam and his family as vulgar and uncouth. But as Sam and Lisa pull together to find Lisa's mother, they both discover their own strengths and weaknesses. In alternating chapters, Lisa and and Sam's reactions to the vicissitudes of life after this sudden reversal are delineated in a wholly reasonable and realistic style. With his usual facility, Mazer scrutinizes familial relationships and finds them wanting and comforting at the same time. Adults are not shadowy figures but fully drawn persons with both virtues and failings. Sam and Lisa are good examples of young adults facing up to their impotence but relying on one another to fill in the gaps. A book that's well done and interesting enough for reluctant readers. --Kathryn Havris, Mesa Public Library, AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.