This volume contains two novels. In the first 16-year-old American Jessica Mastriani is struck by lightning. As a result she develops an unusual psychic power. If she examines a picture of a missing child before she falls asleep, when she wakes she knows the exact location of the child, down to the address and zip code. For a time she conveys this information anonymously to the authorities, but soon someone notifies them who she is. So begins Jessica ‘s troubled relationship with FBI agents Smith and Johnson.
The authorities take Jessica to a military compound where they plan to investigate her powers. They want to use her to trace wanted criminals . Jessica resents being kept there. With the help of Rob, her boyfriend who is on probation and therefore unpopular with her parents, she breaks out of the compound. In this first book Jessica learns that some lost children have good reason to be on the run and do not necessarily welcome being traced.
In the second book, Jessica somehow persuades the FBI that her gift has vanished, a pretence she has to work hard to maintain. We find her occupied as a counsellor in a music camp for young people. The boy who is the biggest social misfit in the camp gets lost. Jessica traces him, together with a girl whose father has been trying to find her for two years.
Cabot has developed a characteristic stream of consciousness style. The narrative consequently has all the somewhat abrupt discontinuities and digressions one might expect in the mind of a distracted teenager. Although she is engaged in life-saving missions, Jessica is constantly preoccupied with thoughts about Rob – whether he really likes her, and how much. The literality of the text with fragments of experience jostling for place does not always accord with the fantasy of the plotline about mysterious psychic powers. As a result the reader must develop a willing suspension of disbelief that becomes a demanding task. The concatenation of the prosaic and the magical might be more easily achieved on the screen, as has happened with some of Cabot’s other works. The age range for the book is somewhat influenced by the presence of profane language.