Gayle Francis Moffet's Reviews > What Janie Found

What Janie Found by Caroline B. Cooney
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Apr 05, 12

bookshelves: 2012, march-2012, series, ya-lit, fiction
Read in March, 2012

** spoiler alert ** One of the great things about the Janie books is that the anger and fear feel very real. Two families have had their lives torn apart, and Cooney doesn't shy away from the fact that the story in her series would cause people to think dark, disturbing thoughts and be unhappy and angry.

Throughout the Janie books, Stephen (Janie's biological brother) has been the angriest of all the characters. He has spent his life being in charge of keeping all his siblings safe from other kidnappers, and it has worn on him. He is tired of being the responsible one, the mature one, the one who needs to constantly be on guard even more than the others, and he has escaped to Colorado. Colorado is far away from New Jersey and all the people who have made his life painful and strange. It was fantastic to read a book that concentrated on Stephen and his journey into figuring how how to deal with Janie. The other books have concentrated on Janie and her Connecticut family, Jody (Janie's biological sister), and Janie's biological parents. What Janie Found is Stephen's story as much as it is Janie's, the both of them working to come to final terms with what life has handed them against their will.

Cooney's tense, quick-paced style maintains in this as well as the other Janie books. She writes people who are genuinely angry and who make questionable (if not full-out bad) decisions. She puts her characters into situations that are absolutely hellish psychologically. Janie, already wrung out from three books of confusion and emotional toil, has to tackle the biggest issue of all: What about Hannah? Janie finds out where Hannah is, and she desperately wants to meet her face-to-face so that they're forced to come to a conclusion. The conclusion? It's precisely the kind of conclusion one should expect from the series: emotionally satisfying but personally frustrating, reminding the reader as well as the characters that just because you want something to be true (or not), you'll have to make do with what life hands you and your own understanding of how your decisions affect more than you.
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