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WHAT JANIE FOUND by Caroline B. Cooney


From the Janie series, volume 4

by Caroline B. Cooney

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-32611-4
Publisher: Delacorte

Billed as the conclusion to the saga that began with The Face on the Milk Carton (1990), this soapy drama ends with some wounds healed, but the characters and plot lines suspended in thin Rocky Mountain air. Raised by a Connecticut couple who believed themselves to be her grandparents, but were actually the mother and father of Hannah, her kidnapper, Janie has rejoined and subsequently relinquished her birth family to live with those who raised her. Now, as her “father” lies in intensive care, Janie discovers that he not only knows where Hannah is, but has been sending her money regularly from a special account. Hannah lives in Boulder, Colorado, where Janie’s older brother, Stephen, is going to school and falling hard for domineering Kathleen; Janie flies out for a visit, determined to confront Hannah, and get answers about her past. The characters have sharp intelligence and strong, complex feelings, but, despite staccato prose and frequent shifts in point-of-view, the plot lags, stretched out to give everyone a chance to wrestle with private demons. In what passes for a climax Stephen and Kathleen move apart, Janie and formerly disgraced boyfriend Reeve narrow the rift between them, and Janie decides to “unkidnap” herself by mailing Hannah the balance of the special account, without making direct contact. Readers may appreciate her wisdom, but as Hannah remains a faceless, voiceless enigma, there is no closure to the central mystery of the four- book drama. (Fiction. 11-13)