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Jane Anonymous #1

Jane Anonymous

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“Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

306 pages, Hardcover

First published January 7, 2020

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About the author

Laurie Faria Stolarz

41 books3,105 followers
Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz's titles have been named on various awards list.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 889 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,303 reviews43.9k followers
July 31, 2020
Five I found a new author who is gifted, brilliant and develops amazing characters, I couldn’t put down this book, disconnected with outside world, stayed focused, jumped up and down at some parts and created a new term as “three dimensional reading”, because every suffering, every traumatic experience, every scared moments, every fight of Jane truly resonated with me stars!!!

The one thing I really like about the books make your emotions all over the place as they shake you to the core and help you connect with other lives.

For so long a book didn’t function as a sledgehammer to smash my heart into million tiny pieces as like this book did to me. Jane’s emotional, heart wrenching, terrifying survival journey was remarkably told. Even a heartless person could be affected from what she’s been through.

She’s been kidnapped, put in car trunk at the beginning of the story and by moving back and forth between her captivated time and PTSD time (present time), we learn more about her traumatic experience.

Some parts of her story, kept in warehouse with several (we still have no idea how many captives were there) people and her connection with the other captive Mason by only hearing his voice and holding his hand reminds us of OA series. But don’t worry, I’m not gonna give spoiler but in this story, an evil professor didn’t kidnap few extraordinary talents to make trials on their bodies. This is only Jane’s story who gathers all strength to escape from the place and throughout her captivation time, she develops a special relationship with Mason. Her inner voices belong to her mother, her best friend force her keep going.

She finally succeeds to escape from her cage but we see her new life she sentences herself to live in her own mental cage by keeping away from her loved ones and turns her own bedroom into her cell.
This book is about testing yourself and your survival skills. It’s also about when you lost a great part of your innocence and mental health how you can collect your pieces to create new and tough version of yourself. It’s brave, it’s mind-bending! It’s not sunshine and flowers reading! Wear your big girl shoes before accept to enter Jane’s world.

And THERE IS A BIG FREAKING TWIST brings the most poetic ending to this book! You didn’t see it coming. (Okay actually I did it! I hate myself to doubt everything which helps me to solve all the twists and lost the fun of it. But it is still a great and life-changing, sucker-punch kind of surprise!)
I loved to see the inner fight of her Jane, her mood swings, ups and downs, antisocial behaviors but finally gathering herself to take big steps to save herself from her inner cage. Because the fight she gave against herself at the present time was even more damaging and challenging than escaping from her captor.

Highly recommend this inspirational, realistic, mind-bending, capturing, amazing book to all the people who have enough power to fight against her inner cages prevented them to move on with their lives and who love tormented but not broken soul stories.

I’m so thankful to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing this remarkable, fantastic book in exchange my honest review.

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.7k followers
October 31, 2022
Jane Anonymous has always been the typical girl next door.

She is 17-years old and lives in a suburban New England town with her family. She is archetypal of that girl we all know; that girl who maybe we are.

That is until the day she gets abducted while out running an early morning errand.

Subsequently, Jane is held in captivity for seven excruciating months.

This is her story, following Then and Now timelines until the two perspectives finally merge.

The narrative itself is definitely more stream of consciousness then I tend to enjoy, but I'll tell you what, in this case, it didn't bother me.

I actually feel like it was a smart choice by the author, as it made the conveyance of this wild tale seem that much more real.

It feels like a friend telling you about a horrific thing that happened to them, versus an author creating a fictional story.

When I say 'horrific thing', I mean it. This book is not for sensitive Readers.

The violence perpetrated against Jane, being stripped of her freedom and her sense of safety, amongst other traumas, was hard to read.

Her efforts toward recovery were equally heavy and disturbing.

In some ways, I think that was even more difficult to read, her struggles to try to adapt back to the life she had before.

Severe trauma, feeling broken and the pathways to recovery are all covered within these pages. I think if this book is read at the right time, by the right person, it could really mean a lot to them.

Hard-hitting for its entirety, if you can stomach it, I think the message of hope that ultimately shines through is worth the effort.

It was that way for me, at least. Although my heart was a little battered and bruised at the end, it was worth it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate it!
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,107 reviews531 followers
September 2, 2022
Don't be put off by the subject matter: this is a must read book for people who enjoy psychological, introspective, path-to-healing storylines. More people should be reading this spectacularly well-written novel.

Jane Anonymous is a very brave, strong girl who must somehow learn to trust again. Her old carefree life is gone. She laments that her recent abduction caused so many people, including her parents, grief and turmoil, but she is barely managing to hold on to her own sanity as she battles her fears and trust issues every second of the day.

This is an outstanding novel about abduction, Stockholm syndrome, overcoming self-blame in abuse situations, and finding the right fit when it comes to choosing counseling. Jane's road back to recovery was hampered by several bad encounters with medical staff and police detectives, who could not understand or would not listen to the signs she was giving. You sense a lack of sensitivity on the professionals' parts - probably due to a lack of proper training or a lack of empathy.

It is difficult to review this novel without spoilers, so read no further if you want to retain the element of surprise when you read this superb story. I found it interesting that the author showed a smidgen of compassion for the "Monster" abductor. Our society contributes to the creation of such "monsters" when we turn a blind eye and allow children to be abused and neglected. Violence is always harmful to any human psyche and can become learned behaviour.

My heart broke for young Mason (the boy in the next cell), who was locked in a dark basement as a child and (was potentially?) beaten with a baseball bat by his abusive, alcoholic father. That "baseball bat attack" conversation rang so true that I wondered whether it had actually happened - but at an earlier time in Mason's life.

Jane's "Monster" abductor, like so many others out there, believed that he was in love with her, but he lacked the social skills or mental stability to approach Jane in the usual, accepted manner. I appreciated this humane approach: too many authors adopt a lynch-mob mentality which lowers the tone of a story. Some of us humans are way more messed up than others.

Jane's relationship during her captivity with Mason, in their joint battle against the Monster, was sweetly heartbreaking. I could truly understand why she grieved for him when she finally escaped. Apart from the Stockholm syndrome aspect, Mason was probably experiencing the happiest moments of his own life during those stolen hours in captivity. I kept thinking that we failed poor Mason and those like him by not being more vigilant on his behalf during his own period of childhood neglect and abuse. I don't think that the "twist", such as it was, is hard to guess, but it was still a very painful reveal, in so many ways.

I highly recommend this beautifully written, fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful novel. I read it in one day: you simply can't put this book down! My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.4k followers
November 19, 2019
This is a weird one for me to review. It was extremely entertaining and gripping, and I definitely feel like it accomplished what it set out to accomplish, but there were times when this felt a little... exploitative to me? I am definitely the odd man out on this one as all of the other reviews of this are glowing, so maybe I went into it with the wrong mindset, but there were definitely times where I felt like handling the topic sensitively took a backseat in favor of entertainment value. And it just felt.. odd. I did still enjoy reading this one and I would say to pick it up if it interests you, but definitely tread with caution if you're sensitive to any of the topics covered in this book.

TW: abduction, being held captive, death of an animal (in the past), emotional manipulation

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me an advance copy in exchange for this review! I discussed this book in more detail in this video on my BookTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwKy4...
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
814 reviews12.7k followers
December 22, 2019
3.5 stars

Jane Anonymous is a compulsively readable YA psychological thriller about a 17-year-old girl who is trying to cope after escaping 7 months of captivity.

The narrative is told from Jane’s point of view, and shifts between “Now” and “Then.” In “Now” she writes about the aftermath of her kidnapping. While she has returned home, she is no longer the carefree girl who worried about trivial things. Everyone, from her mother to her friends, wants her to go back to being the Jane they loved. Jane struggles, as she doesn’t know who is anymore. She beings writing about what she experienced to help her heal and details her time being held by her kidnapper in “Then.”

From the very beginning, I couldn’t put this book down. It is very easy to read--I read it over the course of a day. I figured out early on who took Jane, but not the full why. This is more of a character study than a thriller. Some elements didn’t fully work for me, but I acknowledge that I am not the intended audience. At a certain point, the narrative loses tension and becomes a bit repetitive. While I didn’t love all parts, I found Jane’s voice captivating. I also appreciated the author’s message about trauma and healing.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melissa (Semi-hiatus Very Behind).
4,646 reviews2,111 followers
November 11, 2021
This is a dramatic and engrossing YA thriller about a girl who is abducted and the aftermath. I listened to this as an audiobook and was so intrigued to find out why she had been kidnapped in the first place and what events unfolded to bring her back home.

Although I figured out the big twist ahead of time, I didn't think that detracted from the book overall. Jane kind of grated on me, but I gave her some compassion because the trauma she had endured wasn't anything I could begin to comprehend. I didn't offer that same grace to her parents though, they should have known from the start that she needed intensive counseling and help for her PTSD, and that takes a special kind of counselor, not the one that she was seeing.

For the most part, this is a fast-moving book that moves back and forth between Jane's kidnapping and time in captivity and the present day as she is trying to cope with returning home and back to her life. If you're looking for an engrossing thriller, this is definitely one to check out.

June 27, 2020
Fantastic! I loved it!

Jane Anonymous is abducted after stopping at the boutique where she works to pick up her best friends birthday gift that she had forgotten to bring home. The store is closed but the guy looks nice, he is handsome and seems genuine about it being his 1 year anniversary with his girlfriend, so she lets him in. He gets her with chloroform after she turns around to wrap up his gift.

The story is told from the ten months after the day she was abducted when she is back at home. She was held for over seven months and she is trying to come to terms with what happened. She came back in pieces as she describes it (PTSD in psychological terms), but she refuses to talk to the psychologists she tried because of different issues, one used candles that smelled like the ones her captor “the monster” used, another treated her like she was crazy.

So Jane decides to write about her experience as a form of therapy, both her time in captivity and since she got home. So the book goes back and forth, then (the day she was taken) to now (present). As Jane tries to understand everything that happened to her and work through her trauma, we as readers are finding out what happened in the order it happened and also finding out how it is affecting her now that she is at home.

As you would expect, Jane is having trouble adjusting at home. She went through various types of physical and mental torture while in captivity, though I won’t give any spoilers as to what those were but to say it wasn’t a standard kidnapping. The book had my emotions going all over the place, I was feeling for Jane so much.

I felt so bad for her when she was free but trying to recreate her own room to be more like the room in captivity. She knew it is better being free, but almost feels safer in that room where nobody can get her or talk to her. I cried throughout half of the book because it was heart wrenching.

I run.
Because I can’t sleep.
Because Memory can’t catch me if I keep a fast pace.
Because my parents’ door is closed, but Night can’t shut me out.
Because I’m not supposed to be out at this hour, especially after everything, especially all alone—and so it feels a little like power.

As Jane gets further in her story and continues to struggle with being at home, her Mother tries to get her back to normal by forcing her to go out or to see her friends. Her Mom can’t heal until Jane heals, which puts more pressure on Jane. Jane struggles with her feelings for Mason who was one of the other people held captive and was able to cut a small hole in the wall so they could hold hands. Her struggles with the reasons for why “the monster” took her were hardest of all.

“What do you feel most nervous about?”
“Facing the truth, I guess.”
“The truth about . . .”
“What happened when I was taken.” I study her face, trying to figure out if she knows my story, if she saw it on the news or read it in the papers.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
December 17, 2019
After sitting on this review for almost a week, I'm going to keep it brief. I'd like to state that I'm not a teenager, and therefore not the target audience, so some of the issues I had with this book might not be the case for the YA crowd. The writing is easy to get caught up in, and the format and storytelling style make it difficult to put this book down once you've begun. The author has a way with keeping the reader glued, and that's no small feat. My problems likely stem from having read too many psychological thrillers, and I found the twist obvious in the first quarter of the book. There's a really small cast of characters, and it's a twist that I've read several times before, but if you haven't experienced it, then it might really grab you. I do wish Jane Anonymous had focused slightly more on the trauma and mental health issues depicted in this novel, rather than the "mystery" behind who took Jane, but again its personal preference. If you're looking for a fast paced read where the pages fly by, definitely give this one a try.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
January 7, 2020
I know that my reviews today are beginning to be repetitive, but I literally couldn't put this one down.

Laurie Faria Stolarz's Jane is a memorable protagonist as she recounts the seven months she was held captive and the aftermath in which she tries to rebuild her life by writing her story. The chapters alternate between "THEN" and "NOW" and highlight Jane's struggle to accept the traumatic event that she survived.

I have no idea why I like "kidnapping" stories so much, but something about Jane kept me from looking away. All I know is that I cannot stop thinking about this book.

Thanks to Beatrice Jason of St. Martin's Press who invited me to check out an egalley of this upcoming title on Netgalley.

Goodreads review published 07/01/20
Publication Date 07/01/20
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,349 reviews3,005 followers
December 3, 2019
I haven't been so emotionally connected to a character in a really long time. It's like I felt everything she felt. The publisher synopsis describes this book as gripping and I agree completely as I started reading the book in the afternoon and was done before I went to bed.

I'm going to keep the synopsis of the book short and simple. Jane Anonymous is a teenager when she is kidnapped. Seven months later she is back living at her house with her parents. So what happened while she was held captive? Well, the story is going to alternate between Jane during the time period she went missing and Jane in the present time in which she is trying to process everything that happened.

I think the author was smart in letting the reader know right from the beginning that Jane somehow makes it back home. I don't think I emotionally could have handled this story if it was told in chronological order as it would have been too tense for me. As is, even knowing she somehow survives, the parts when she is held captive are still nerve wracking. And even though Jane's life has obviously been impacted and you are witnessing her dealing with the aftermath, it almost feels like you get a bit of relief when the writing alternates to the present time. How the author wrote this story was well-thought out and effective.

I'm not kidding when I say, I honestly felt in tune with Jane and just felt everything she was feeling. And that's what makes this story such an incredible read. It's pretty amazing how you can feel so connected to a character despite the fact you haven't had a similar life experience.

I'm trying not to overly hype this book because maybe this won't be such a moving reading experience for all readers. I loved it though and am placing it among my favorite YA fiction reads. I think if you enjoy that genre, give this one a try as at the very least it is a quick read. I think it is also important to note that when compared to other books I have read recently dealing with crimes against a woman, this story probably goes into the least amount of graphic detail. I'm not saying this book is for everyone, but maybe a wider audience would be able to handle reading this novel.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an advance copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

Profile Image for Sandra Hoover.
1,221 reviews201 followers
January 4, 2020
To say I was totally unprepared for the impact this compelling book had on me is an understatement. From Jane's first written words in her journal to her message to readers on the last page, I found it hard to breathe. Jane Anonymous is the gripping, heart-wrenching story of a seventeen year old girl's kidnapping, her struggles to escape captivity with body and mind intact, and her inability to merge back into her old life with family and friends once she came home. Jane was held in captivity for seven grueling months during which time she discovered she could communicate through the wall with a fellow victim in the next room. This communication became her lifeline to reality - another driving force to keep trying to escape. Please avoid reviews that contain spoilers. Readers need to feel Jane's utter despair and devastation as well as her strong will to survive first-hand to understand what happens in the end.

This story unfolds through two timelines - now & then, and is told exclusively from Jane's point of view. In the now, prayers have been answered and Jane is back home with her family, but she's now a prisoner of her own mind and the four walls of her room as she struggles to deal with memories, nightmares, and the trauma of captivity as well as guilt over the one she left behind. She can't return to normal because she doesn't recognize herself in her old life - she's no longer the girl she was before. In the then, readers are in Jane's head within the four walls of a small, locked room watching as she struggles to keep her sanity. We know from the beginning that Jane does eventually escape, but at what cost? Her life is forever shattered into pieces around her. She can't begin to find her way back until she deals with the aftermath and acknowledges the lost pieces of the puzzle taunting her to remember.

Jane Anonymous is an intense, fast-paced story that speaks of control, guilt, anger, mental health, survival, and the emotional struggle of victims to become whole again. To acknowledge, accept, and thus gain control of one's life again. Through short chapters, the author accelerates the pace forward at an intense, rapid rate making for a compulsive, angst-filled read. With few characters, the attention focuses almost solely on Jane, essentially becoming an exclusive character study of her before and after. The swing back and forth between past and present serves to keep readers slightly off-balance in an urgent must-read-now kind of way. While I'm not in the intended age target range for this book, I had no problem becoming totally consumed by it as I simply could not put it down. While I can't say I didn't see the surprise ending coming, it in no way lessened my enjoyment of this unique, brilliantly written young adult thriller. Jane Anonymous is the gripping story of a young girl's emotional journey back from being broken to becoming whole again. A fantastic story that I highly recommend no matter your age!

*With special thanks to Wednesday Books for an arc of this book via Netgalley.
**Reviewed at Cross My Heart Reviews
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,561 followers
January 6, 2020
Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz is probably best described as a thrilling young adult contemporary. The book tells the story of Jane Anonymous who had been kidnapped and held prisoner for seven months by alternating between Jane in the present time after her escape and going back to the past while she was captive.

In the present Jane has gone through many types of therapy and people helping her deal with what happened but now feels the best way to deal with it would be to write her own story. When flashing back Jane tells of how she left to pick up a present for a friend and came across a man who overtook her and locked her in his trunk before locking her up.

This story was extremely captivating and suspenseful despite knowing from the beginning that Jane had survived the kidnapping. Going back and forth between the then and now you could just feel the emotions coming off of Jane as you read her story. I will say though I thought the twist to the tale was a little easy to see ahead of time leading to dropping my rating to 4 1/2 stars but otherwise a great read.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,071 reviews363 followers
January 7, 2020
WOW! If ever there was a book that should be summed up by that one word it is Jane Anonymous. From the first word of the prologue to the last letter in the book, I was fully engrossed and utterly captivated. Not once did I look up, stop for a break; I’m not sure I even breathed until I finished. It.Is.That.Good. Need more? Fine.

The prologue is an open to letter to us, the readers, from “Jane” who has just returned from being held captive for seven months by a monster. Jane was taken one early morning by a man who vaguely looked familiar, put into a room and given a scoresheet from which she would be rewarded for simple things like eating, bathing, putting her trash out the pet door. That sounds far more simple than it was for the prisoner Jane who rebelled against her captivity by not eating, not bathing, not cleaning. But she is not alone. There is someone else on the other side of the wall. Someone who shares her darkness, her fears, someone she comes to love. But what if that someone goes away…. what if he isn’t real or worse.

Jane’s story is written in a then/now perspective as though Jane is writing her story for you as part of her therapy. We are able to read first hand her innermost thoughts, fears, hopes and crushing anxiety as she navigates back through the world of the free and living. This is a heart-pounding, gut-wrenching tale that dives into our deepest emotions and will leave you breathlessly ragged when you have finished but it so worth it! Yes, this book is written for young adults but don’t let that fool you. It is, by far, one of the best books I have read in a very long time. Just as SE Hinton wrote for this age group in the 70s with words that resonated across the age spectrum, Jane Anonymous will translate well for readers of all ages.
Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,245 reviews643 followers
December 2, 2019
This is a very suspenseful novel about a seventeen year old called Jane who is abducted and held captive until she manages to escape some months later. Once home again, Jane struggles to reconnect with her close friends and family and decides to write about her experience as therapy. Told in two time lines she writes about her time in captivity and in the aftermath when she is finding it hard to overcome her trauma and make sense of all that happened to her.

This was a quick read as chapters would often switch between time lines leaving a cliff hanger that I wanted to get back to asap. Laurie Stolarz does a great job at depicting the fear and anxiety that Jane experienced both during and after her captivity when she is suffering from PTSD. In both situations she discovers that she is a survivor and tougher than she thought. Although I guessed the identity of the kidnapper fairly early on this did not diminish the suspense of wondering what would happen to Jane and did add a creepy element to the novel.

With thanks to Netgalley and St Martin's for a digital ARC to read.

Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,727 reviews864 followers
July 16, 2023
This was like a Criminal Minds episode... in the fact that it prioritised suspense over its thoughtful exploration of trauma.

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Jane (mc) has Post-Trauamtic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseStoryGraph
Profile Image for Tijana.
325 reviews153 followers
September 21, 2019
ARC provided via Netgalley. I am very thankful, even though I won't be able to walk anywhere alone, after reading it.

This...this was a rough one.
Even though I read and loved some of the author's previous work, I was definitely not ready for Jane Anonymous.
So raw and painful, it made me feel as if a brick was lying on my chest while reading.
At certain parts I even regretted ever starting it.
I was googling if it's possible to get a chip installed in people (me), so they (I) can be tracked if ever gotten kidnapped, after only reading the first few chapters.
This story seriously got me frightened!

And, yes, I figured out the who the kidnapper was and his motive about halfway through, but I wouldn't say it's easy to see it coming. It was just my gut feeling, that I couldn't shake off and ended up being right. You might be completely and utterly surprised.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,008 reviews377 followers
March 5, 2020
Slightly dark, definitely heartbreaking, Jane Anonymous is everything you would expect from this author and the subject matter.

This is a story that will resonate with you, shake you up and dump out all the pieces again as you struggle and grieve right along with Jane, with her parents, and with her friends as the story slowly unfolds from “then” and “now”.

All the feels! Stolarz takes you on a wild roller coaster of a ride through the ups and downs, the heartache, the triumphs, and the dark dark lows. Emotional, endearing, triumphant, heart wrenching, eye opening, and most of all, a deep connection to this so very broken character that you will be thinking about her long after her story has ended.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,057 reviews130 followers
December 10, 2019
Although I enjoyed Stolarz's writing, I found myself annoyed a lot while reading this. The story alternates between now and then, which I found effective in holding my attention. Jane is a teenage girl who was taken and held captive for seven months. She chooses to write about her experience as a form of therapy. The plot was predictable but the story flowed. What got me irritated was how Jane's mom and best friend, Shelley, treated her and expected her to act. It seemed selfish and I didn't like any of the parts with them in it.

While I wished there was more suspense and thrills, I did enjoy the writing and would read a book by Stolarz again.

I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Emma.
222 reviews122 followers
March 27, 2020
"We're all broken in some way; it's part of that being human thing I was talking about before. The key is to learn how to carry your broken pieces as you move forward day by day."

Maybe YA mystery/thrillers aren't my thing, because with the exception of Sadie, I've either disliked or felt indifferent about most of the ones I've read. Many of them have such promise, but their endings are so ridiculously predictable that it's like...why bother? Especially when I don't care for the contemporary aspect of the story, either.

I struggle to see what this book was trying to do. Granted, it's been over two months since I read it, and I didn't bother to take notes at all for whatever reason. It's just a very forgettable read. I was hoping that the thriller-y aspect of the story would be strong, but apparently, that's too much to ask for. Look, I'm not a huge mystery thriller person, as previously stated, but from the moment I read the premise in its entirety (admittedly, I was 50 pages in at that point) I had already guessed everything that was supposed to "shock me."

So, that left me with a book that was trying so hard to create shocking plot twists, which weren't working for me in the slightest, so much that it prioritizes it over its exploration of trauma, and the aftermath of a tragedy. None of the character's reactions to Jane's kidnapping, with the exception of Jack, were realistic or authentic at all. LITERALLY THE DAY SHE GETS BACK, HER MOM ASKS IF SHE WANTS TO GO TO PROM. And then gets aggravated when Jane is understandably like "Um, no?" Also, her friend - whatever her name is, I believe it's Shelly but I could be wrong - was really kinda crappy. She gets irritated that Jane doesn't want to hang out and instead of trying to understand decides to talk badly about her behind her back. Mmm, that's nice, thanks for that.

Overall, it's just not the kind of book I believe is worthy of any sort of hype? Other people may really enjoy the story, so to each their own, but I didn't have any strong feelings or emotions towards it. A so-so mystery thriller that takes an excellent premise but unfortunately didn't live up to in regards to execution.
pre review: I’m pretty sure I felt more bored than I should have for a supposed ‘’mystery-thriller”....🤔

aside from that: I just didn’t LOVE the way mental health & trauma were represented. like it always felt secondary to the action?
why did Goodreads mark this as 'read?' like I swear I clicked on this earlier and it said 'want to read'. Goodreads, please stop making decisions for me?
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,773 reviews574 followers
November 20, 2019
Psychological intrigue in a darkly twisted tale of abduction and its aftermath at its disturbing best. Laurie Faria Stolarz’s JANE ANONYMOUS is spellbinding in its raw presentation as we witness one teen’s painful journey to healing the scars of a seven month long abduction.

Will Jane ever find her place in the world again? Will she ever be able to enter a room without the hushed stares or whispered comments? Will she ever feel comfortable in her own skin or in her own judgment? Is it possible that all she believed, all she thought she knew of her abduction was a cruel ruse to torment her already ravaged mind? Will she ever see herself as whole again, damaged yet intact? Will her family, her friends and even strangers on the street?

I feel a little strange saying I loved this dark and twisted tale, but I did, I do. Laurie Faria Stolarz has held nothing back and if one person may just pick up on some subtle cues here, then, hopefully, the world could become a safer place with less morbid interest in knowing all the private hell a human may be faced to endure.

Hard-hitting, bold writing, a story that cannot be unread or forgotten. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Wednesday Books. This is my honest and voluntary review.

Publisher: Wednesday Books (January 7, 2020)
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Genre: Young Adult emotional/mental abuse
Print Length: 320 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Alana.
684 reviews1,307 followers
January 8, 2020
"Life isn't a race. You go at your own pace, okay?"

My biggest piece of advice for you with this one is before you pick it up to clear your schedule because it's almost impossible to put down. Jane Anonymous is the gripping story of a seventeen year old girl who is trying to readjust her life after being kidnapped for seven months. Told between her time in captivity and the present Jane shares her story as she tries to figure out what her new normal in life is all the while dealing with some pretty heavy PTSD. I really love books about people finding themselves again after unimaginable trauma, I find them really inspiring and this book is another great example of that.

One of the things that I really loved about this book was how much it makes you see Jane's kidnapping affected more than just her. There are times when reading this that the author makes you annoyed by Jane's parents for how hard them seem to push her to feel normal again, but as the story progresses Jane begins to realize how much her disappearance hurt her parents and her best friend as well. It's something that easily makes you stop in you tracks and think about the bigger picture, wouldn't anyone act that way if their daughter was taken? There are so many layers to this story about growth and healing that can apply to literally anyone, not just someone who was kidnapped.

I will admit that I did find the "twist" of this book to be extremely predictable. Part of me wishes that there was more time focused on Jane's mental health and healing process rather than trying to incorporate a plot twist that was pretty obvious. I loved how Jane worked at an animal shelter and was given an abused dog to work and build a relationship with. I think that it was fundamental to her character growth throughout the story but wish that we would have seen more of that rather than trying to spin something that honestly didn't add much depth to the story.

Favorite Quotes

"We're all broken in some way, its part of that being human thing I was talking about before. The key is to learn how to carry your broken pieces as you move forward day by day."

"We've all carried our regret around like anchors, struggling not to drown."

"But no one found me. And I'm still searching for myself."

"To think I'd spent seventeen years in the spirited bubble that was my life...it took only seven months to pop that bubble. And to break that spirit."

All in all, if you're like me and love contemporaries that deal with some tougher topics but pack a punch with a whole lot of meaning then Jane Anonymous is definitely worth checking out. It's a story of love, growth, and hope after unimaginable trauma all wrapped it one unputdownable package.

Thank you Wednesday Books for sending an e-ARC my way in exchange for a honest review!

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Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,340 reviews228 followers
September 28, 2020
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of JANE ANONYMOUS by Laurie Faria Stolarz in exchange for my honest review.***


As a form of therapy, JANE ANONYMOUS, not her real name, writes about her seven months in captivity and the difficult transition back home.

I enjoy abduction stories and had already preordered JANE ANONYMOUS when I saw the ARC on NetGalley. I couldn’t wait to devour Laurie Faria Stolarz’s story. I immediately knew JANE ANONYMOUS was fresh take on the kidnapping sub genre.

Jane tells her story in Then and Now chapters, chronicling her abduction from early days to release and her painful reentry into her old life. New normal doesn’t begin to describe how different Jane’s life feels. Everyone who loves Jane is changed and wants to help, but she pushes them away to avoid frequent anxiety attacks.

While in captivity, Jane learns others are also held captive, including Mason, who visits through heating vents and offers comfort and vows to free her.

JANE ANONYMOUS drips raw pain with tiny glimpses of hope sprinkled within yet never feels heavy or depressing, a tribute to Stolarz’s writing. I did not want JANE ANONYMOUS to end and hope Stolarz has a sequel in the works.

The audiobook is even better than the written work.
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,495 reviews405 followers
March 13, 2023
3.5 stars

I loved the idea of this book from the blurb and I think that YA thrillers and suspense are in shorter supply, so I was all anticipation over reading it. This was a story of a 17 year old teen, Jane who was kidnapped and held by a mysterious young monster of a man. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye.

JANE ANONYMOUS was a fast-paced and tense read. My heart was beating and in my mouth at various junctures. Jane’s capture and imprisonment were told in the ‘then’ time frame but much of the story was also told in the ‘now’ post-escape and her difficulties to return to life. The kidnapper was not at all what I expected, which led to unfurling of later events with her captor. I did see some of the twists that came before they were revealed.

I was engaged throughout this book, I read quickly and avidly. I felt anger, sadness and frustration, often all at once. I felt such sorrow for Jane obviously around her time in captivity, but even more for her time afterwards, I think. I really appreciated the parental perspective, those small insights were heartbreaking and felt so tangible.

I would have loved to have rated this book higher but as more was revealed about her kidnapper and certain events that were hazy, there was a lack of clarity that was frustrating. Even more so, being left with unanswered questions in the end left me unsatisfied overall. This book had masses of potential but it didn’t quite realise all of the possibility. All that said, this author wrote in a very engaging style and I would definitely read her work again.

Thank you to Wednesday Books and netgalley for the early review copy.

This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Cassie.
349 reviews65 followers
January 13, 2020
Initial Thoughts:
This book is about hope, and above all, recognizing that you are human, and the broken pieces of you are what makes you whole.

Rating and RTC soon.


Actual Review:
This started off strong for me and I for sure thought this was going to be a five star book. But then, it started to fizzle out towards the middle and end. I found my attention span drifting off onto other things, which is never a good sign while reading something you're supposed to be enjoying. I did, however, really enjoy the writing style and found it to be addicting to read.

Jane's story is definitely emotional and heart wrenching, and watching her story be told was beautiful. As I said in my initial thoughts above, it's all about hope and coming to terms with your pain and recognizing that you are a human who makes mistakes, but your mistakes are not what defines you. So for that alone, this book gets five stars.

Overall, if you're in the right headspace and can handle a book with a topic like this one, then I recommend getting to know Jane and her story!
Profile Image for Howard.
1,284 reviews80 followers
January 15, 2020
4.5 Stars for Jane Anonymous (audiobook) by Laurie Faria Stolarz read by Emily Bauer. This is an amazing book. It’s about a teenage girl being abducted. This is a very important subject that young people need to be aware of. It’s written in a way that conveys the girl’s fear while still being PG. The author seemed to write it for a wide range of readers. The narration was wonderful too.
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
828 reviews4,706 followers
May 14, 2021
A YA psychological thriller about a 17-year-old girl who is trying to cope with life after escaping 7 months of captivity

Told in alternating, then and now timelines, we experience Jane's pain, confusion and struggles as she both copes with captivity and then freedom. Enjoyed how this covered both aspects and just how hard both were for the victim. Freedom from captivity doesn't mean a happy ending and this book depicts that well. Everyone wants Jane to go back to being the Jane she was "before" but Jane is struggling and knows she will never be the same. The experience has left her forever changed and she must figure out who she is now, in the "after".

Jane's experiences are heart wrenching and her struggles are so emotional. The author really drives this home with all her experiences and it just broke my heart. Jane Anonymous is a gripping story of a young girl's emotional journey from being broken to becoming whole again. Highly recommended to readers of all ages!

Profile Image for Jessica *The Lovely Books*.
1,226 reviews628 followers
December 11, 2019
“Healing starts the moment we feel heard.”

Have you ever had a moment when picking up a book and just knowing from opening it, that it’s going to be one of those books? Kind of like an instant connection that feels as if it’s coming straight from your soul? I read a lot of books. So many that make me feel sooo many different things and each of them teaching me something different about life or myself. Jane Anonymous is what I like to call a once in a lifetime book—for the sheer ability to attach itself to my heart and never letting go.

Sounds a bit dramatic, yes? I can count on one hand how many books have attached themselves to me and now I get to add a new book to that list. From the very first moment of starting the story, I fell in love with the words and with Jane’s voice. A voice she believes was lost when she was taken. So she writes—and it helps her find that part of herself that was lost.

We follow Jane in Now and Then intervals—basically the present (and after the abduction) and the during (the time she spent in captivity). We, as readers, see how and when her light starts to fade. It’s in captivity that she meets fellow captive, Mason. It’s through him that she has something to live for; to survive.

“Healing starts the moment we feel heard.”

This is a story about trauma, loss, and healing. You might have noticed that I put down the same quote twice in my review. That quote caused my allergies to flare up. How else could I explain the way I had tears dripping down my face? Overall, I thought this was beautifully done. I would like to state that while I did love this and everything it represents, it was predictable. I don’t know if the author intended it to be that way but ever since I read the blurb, and then started the beginning, I kind of just knew. It didn’t change a thing for me though.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Tami.
907 reviews
December 16, 2019
I love a book that gets me hooked right away! This was such a gripping and intense story that puts a lot of emphasis on how a traumatic event can affect the mind.

Jane is seventeen and will soon be starting her Senior year of high school. She has a great best friend, a potential new boyfriend and loving parents. Life as she knows it becomes shattered when she is kidnapped and held in a small room for months.

The story moves back and forth to before she was kidnapped to the present and highlights her struggle to settle back into a normal life. We have all had those moments when a song or a certain smell will trigger a memory for us, but for Jane these moments are a potential hazard.

Her sense of safety is not only shattered from the kidnapping, but also from the later knowledge of how much planning went into it and how she had put trust in someone she shouldn’t have.

Even though this story covers a situation that is a nightmare, readers go into it knowing Jane is back home safe and that every day is a step towards her recovery. Because of that, the difficult parts are so much easier to read. Sensitive readers should be aware that there are some references to self harm.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
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