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The History of Jane Doe

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  221 reviews
A poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life meaning.

History buff Ray knows everything about the peculiar legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville's past is riddled with green cow sightings and human groundhogs, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl--we'll
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Dial Books
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Allow me to apologize in advance for beginning this review with a spoiler, but I think you need to know this is the story of a girl who commits suicide. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, stay far far away because it even made an old grizzly bear like me almost have a feeling.

You should also know that if you’re not a fan of this guy . . . .

Again you should stay far far away because Michael Belanger definitely channels his inner
Michael Belanger
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Top Ten Reasons to read The History of Jane Doe:

1) My mom loves it.

2) My dad gave it a lukewarm, "pretty good," which in dad language counts as a five star.

3) My cat, Louisa, has tried to eat the hardcover edition multiple times.

4) Way before Louisa literally tried to gobble it up, Kirkus gave it a starred review and said, "Fans of John Green will gobble this one up."

5) Publishers Weekly called it an "exceptional debut," and I'm almost positive no friends or extended family work there.

6) The
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Imagine the quirky ~deepness~ of a John Green book but set it in Pawnee and you get The History of Jane Doe, lol. There were some things about this that I really liked, but mostly this was just okay. For me, this was very much an average 3 star book. Nothing specifically wrong with it, but I honestly don’t have much else to say except to give a content warning for suicide and depression. Tread cautiously, friends.
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

There was a whole lot to like about this book. I decided to read this book largely because I was intrigued by the cover. I mean why would a green cow be on the cover of this book? I had to know. Once I started reading the story hooked me right away and I didn't want to set the book aside. There is a so much more to this book than the green cow on the cover. This was an emotional story filled with wonderful characters I wanted to pull
Joe B.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW! Humor is the pathway to depth, and Belanger's whit and relatable characters guide us to plunge the authentic feelings of high school anxiety, love and self worth with frequent laughs between the tears. Read this book.

As a high school teacher and father I feel compelled to read YA lit, and in general often gag at the tired tropes and long for an intelligent yet fun book to recommend to my students and children. I have found one.

As an adult my tastes run toward Pinker, Barzun, and Foster Wal
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, when the library recommended this book to me, I thought it was great timing since I didn't know what to read next. I clicked the Loan button before I even read the description. Then I made the mistake of reading reviews. I got spoilers, mediocre reviews and comparisons to John Green. I also had the 4 books I had on hold come in on the same day! I had to know what the deal was with the green cow, so I decided to read this one first anyway. The reviews were right about this story having a very ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fiction, favorites
I received an ARC of this novel via the First To Read program through Penguin Random House LLC in exchange for an honest review.

Ray loves history, especially the local legends involving his suburban hometown of Burgherville, CT. Ray and Simon, his teen vampire loving sidekick, are not what you would call the popular kids in school. When Jane Doe, the cool and mysterious new girl, moves to town and befriends them their live will be forever changed. Ray decides to take Jane through all of Burgher
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Where to start with this beautiful book? I lost track of the number of times I laughed out loud at Simon’s often oblivious goofiness and Ray’s stories of the weird history of his town. I also lost track of the number of tissues I literally blew through as I was finishing the book. The last few chapters made me a sobbing mess. I somehow did not catch on to the inevitability of the “zero days before” until I was reading that chapter—I think I was trying to ignore that growing panic in my chest tha ...more
When I first started reading The History of Jane Doe, I wasn’t sure what was going on and what was the big deal about Jane. I found the x amount of days before and x amount of days after a little confusing at first because I didn’t know what the zero-day event was, since it isn’t revealed until more than halfway through the book. Jane, Ray and Simon are slowly revealed to the reader. Their histories, relationship and their personalities. Ray and Simon are kind of nerds at the school. Ray loves h ...more
Jennifer P
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The History of Jane Doe resonated with me so much. Belanger perfectly captured what so many teens (and adults) struggle with each day. As someone with my own Jane Doe, I felt so connected with Ray-his strong desire to understand, help and care for Jane. I was so comforted by Ray's experience; his words brought tears to my eyes and filled me with hope. This book is such an important read for those who have in some way dealt with mental illness.

THOJD was beautifully written. I cried, laughed out
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The History of Jane Doe was such a wonderful surprise! I loved the characters. They were so awkward, so endearing, so funny, so REAL. I loved Burgerville. It was quirky and eccentric- the definition of small-town America - but I wanted nothing more to visit it, to look for the mutant green cows with Jane, Ray, and Simon. I loved the writing. Michael made every word count. Never once did I feel bored or distracted; instead, I soaked it all in - embracing every feeling, good OR bad, that Michael b ...more
Anne ✨
Heart & Humor * Quirky & Relatable * Honest & Real

I adored this coming-of-age debut from a new voice in YA, Michael Belanger. The characters were quirky, awkward, funny, and very relatable. There’s Ray (geeky history-nerd), his best friend Simon (comic relief), and the new girl Jane Doe (complexity, depression) who Ray falls for. The subject matter of depression, suicide (and how it affects those around it) is all in here, but it is handled with a huge dose of heart and humor, so it’s a refreshi
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
***Thanks to First to Read for providing me a complimentary of THE HISTORY OF JANE DOE by Michael Belanger in exchange for my honest review.***


Ray, a history buff to the point of OCD, falls hard for new girl, whom he calls Jane Doe to protect her anonymity. He, Jane and his best friend Simon form an unlikely trio. Told in alternating chapters of after Jane is gone and before, Ray takes readers on THE HISTORY OF JANE DOE.

Michael Belanger’s writing is the strongest part of this novel. He
Irene O'Hare
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I got this book for free through Penguin's First to Read program. I thoroughly enjoyed Belanger's debut novel which deals with friendship, history, coming of age, and mental illness with humor, honesty, and heart. Ray's love of history and his hometown of Burgerville makes him an immediately lovable narrator and the comic relief Simon brings to each scene he is fits perfectly. The characters were all quirky but certainly well-rounded, particularly Jane, whose ups and downs are dealt with in a ve ...more
My Review: Wow. There are almost no words for this book. How do you fight demons you can’t see? How do you survive the invisible battle? How do you not break everyone’s heart to save yourself? This book hit far too close to home for me. It left me in tears, curled up in a ball. It seemed so real. . . *Read more at https://intoalookingglass.wordpress.c... ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with the characters right from the beginning. This book made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes at the same time. The story was honest and real and it’s a story that young adults need right now. I wish I had this book when I was in high school.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Regardless of whether or not you have lost someone to suicide, you will instantly connect with Ray and everything that he is going through - recreating his history with Jane to try to understand why she did what she did.

This was a book that I loved and will recommend to many. I loved and connected with Ray and with Jane. With his mom and Tim. With all of the characters. There is something very relatable about all of them and that makes me want to be in this story - but have th
Samantha (WLABB)
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I need a bucket for these tears! The synopsis on the back of the ARC had prepared me for something "beautiful, horrible, astonishing, hilarious", and this story delivered. I cried, but I also laughed a lot, and I really appreciated Belanger's representation of Jane's struggles with mental illness. It was honest and realistic, and he said those things that we can't get our loved ones to quite understand.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jessica It took me a while to finish The History of Jane Doe because my daughter stole it from me. It eventually came back to me with (voluntary!) stickies.

This is what I loved about The History of Jane Doe: 
Authentic characters: I thought about them after I put the book down. They seemed like the real deal, and stayed on my mind. 
Impending tragedy: I knew something terrible was going to happen, but I still wanted to keep reading because I wanted to know how it could go wrong. 
Honesty: Jane ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
It's great to read a book that deals with such hard topics as mental health and (view spoiler) from the perspective of those that love the one feeling depressed. It hits just as hard (if nor harder) and it shows that mental health issues don't just affect the individual.
Ray is the one left behind and this history lover deals with his pain by reconstructing the facts as he knows them. We get glimpses into his past with Jane and of the present as he deals with his sorrow. T
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: khs-books
This book is on our audio platform and I'm plugging away reading a heap of these to promote them to our students. This is a good one. With definite appeal to those who like realistic fiction, this is part mystery, part relationship fiction with a hefty dose of mental health issue to boot. It is also witty and funny!

It is the story of Ray, suffering from depression, whose girlfriend Jane (except that isn't really her name) has committed suicide. Ray and Simon have been the outcast weird guys of
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I laughed. I teared up. I was angry. I was sympathetic. Three high school students that will stay with me for quite some time: Jane, Simon, Ray!
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I always appreciate it when an author takes on real-life issues, and I feel that Belanger hit it out of the park with The History of Jane Doe. Simon and Ray lead a rather mundane life, just the two of them as social outcasts, until Jane transfers to their school. For some reason, she chooses them to be friends with. Told in chapters reflecting the past and then the present, readers watch their friendship and then relationship unfold. We are given slight glimpses at first as to something being di ...more
Liz Blake
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite books make me cry a little, laugh a lot, and have something to teach me. They make me feel. The History Of Jane Doe does all that and more. A stunning debut from new author Mike Belanger! I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next.
Fairyland~book review
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
as soon as i got this in the mail I started reading it and couldn't put it done! LOved it, very much worth a read! ...more
Ellen Johnsmeyer
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ray Green is the appealing adolescent narrator of The History of Jane Doe. He and his sidekick, Simon are the quirky kids at school, outsiders until they meet Jane, the new girl. Ray is a twenty first century Holden Caulfield trying to navigate the minefield of adolescent life. Like Holden he is alienated from his parents and most of his peers and like Holden we learn about his angst as he expresses it to his therapist.
What makes Ray appealing is the part of him he shares with Simon and Jane wh
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: came-soon-18-20
Full review:

The History of Jane Doe was a heartbreaking rollercoaster ride that is no doubt one of the best YA novels of 2018. I’m crossing my fingers for a movie adaption, and you will too once you read this tale as old as time: A boy, his girlfriend, and his best friend trying to navigate through high school. That’s all, and yet it is everything, especially for teens who are still learning when and how to ask for help. Perfect for fans of John Green and
hannah ✧/ᐠ-ꞈ-ᐟ\ (on hiatus)
Basically: John Green 2.0. This was a colorful, quirky read littered with tropes, a cross between Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns.

Review to come!

Read my blog tour post here!

Thank you to Dial Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions in any way. Any quotes above were taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change in the final version.

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Melanie  Brinkman
Nov 05, 2018 added it
Shelves: own-b
Content warning for suicide and depression. I also want to add one for a slightly very bad attitude towards therapy.

This book is told between two times : the time with Jane and the time after Jane. Unfortunately it kind of makes this novel predictable.

History buff Ray doesn't exactly fit in his home town, but he is mostly okay because he has his friend Simon. One day, a new girl, whom he calls Jane Doe comes to town. She really changes his life and not in all the ways you would think.

I wanted t
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