Over two decades after the Janie series began with The Face on the Milk Carton (1990), Cooney concludes the thriller-romance saga of kidnapped Janie Johnson.
Janie, having balanced living with both her “real” family and her kidnap family, looks forward to the anonymity of college, only to discover that a true-crime writer wants to revive the ordeal in a book. Although her heart is still with Reeve, the boy next door who betrayed her, she begins to date Michael—who is actually stalking her as a researcher for the crime writer. Dumping Michael, she falls back into Reeve’s waiting arms. In a romantic proposal scene at the airport, they decide to marry immediately. With much rehashing of back story and Janie’s endless wrestling over which boy she loves, the pace drags until the heart-pounding final pages. Janie, for all she has been through, is shallow and saccharine—a throwback to decades ago. Janie’s wedding plans and multiple professions of faith in God give the book an explicit Catholic tone. Kidnapper Hannah Javensen’s character, expressed in the interspersed chapters that explore her mental instability, has more psychological depth.
Fans who have wondered whether Reeve and Janie’s love endures and whether the kidnapper is caught will want this final piece of the puzzle. (Fiction. 12-17)