The Missing Piece by Marie Lavender

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 3


*Thank you to the author for providing a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.*

The Missing Piece is a novella that begins when Alyssa wakes up on the lawn of a local fraternity with no memory of the night before. When Justin comes along and offers help, she accepts; as she tries to figure out the missing pieces in her memory, Aly begins to question who she is and what a single mistake could cost her.

This was a sweet, quick read, but once again, the first thing I find myself wondering when I finish this book is what it would be like if it was expanded into a full-blown novel. Unlike some short stories that I’ve read that seem to have a more narrower focus, The Missing Piece feels a little like an abridged version of a larger story.

(I’d also like to add that the blurb made the story seem much more mysterious than it turned out to be, but to be honest I was fine with it leaning more towards the contemporary/romance genre.)

The pacing, I would say, was quite quick, but I was glad to see the ups and downs in the plot. It did seem to feel, sometimes, like a collection of scenes that would move along the story faster; this is another reason that makes me wonder what The Missing Piece would be like as a full novel, because the plot had so much potential but didn’t quite have the “space” to execute it.

This story does seem more character-centric as well, which actually worked out great, because Aly’s personality and characterization were made clear, allowing the readers to really experience (and understand) her inner conflicts.

I also really liked Justin’s character, but – and this is a personal preference – when it comes to romance, I’m all about the journey, the “how we got there”. While I did like how Justin and Aly got to know each other, I couldn’t help but feel like the progression was too fast, and that I would love them together a lot more if I saw more of their interactions with one another, even all the way at the beginning when they were nothing more than acquaintances.

The writing style was engaging, and there were several scenes between Justin and Alyssa where I thought the author shined. Overall, I would say that this was a quick, fun read, a story that really leaves you wondering what the next steps for the main characters are, but at the same time, it leaves me wanting to know more about the setting, the characters’ backstories, and a lot of other information that just can’t be squeezed into 38 pages.