Friday, September 13, 2013

Janie Face to Face

Janie Face to Face is a YA contemporary novel, and the fifth and final novel in the Janie books, by Caroline B. Cooney.

On this blog you won’t find a review of The Face on the Milk Carton, Whatever Happened to Janie?, The Voice on the Radio, or What Janie Found.

The reason? I read them over ten years ago.

These books had an effect on me as a youngin’ and when I heard that Cooney was revisiting these characters to give us a follow-up, I knew I had to read it. But, first, I had to refresh my memory by rereading those prior four books.

At times I felt the writing level wasn’t as up to par as other novels – but no matter what there still was a core of heart wrenching pain, suspense, and readability that you really cannot deny.

In Janie Face to Face, Janie starts off as a freshman in college – ready to see if she can leave her messy past behind her and move on.

Yet, there are others who are desperate to keep the past alive, to revisit it, to ask more questions – and those others are people working for a true-crime novelist who are doing research by pestering her, her friends, and her family.

She’s been betrayed by those close to her before – will it happen again?

Janie Face to Face starts with a glimpse of Hannah, Janie’s kidnapper, and what happened the day Janie was taken. This is the first time Caroline B. Cooney has given us that revelation, and I loved how those moments were sprinkled throughout the book. They are chilling and significant.

Everyone in the Janie books is flawed, sometimes even unlikable, but always understandable. I believe that is why the series stands the test of time, and the occasionally less than stellar prose.

Janie Face to Face has a fascinating start, and becomes painful, inexplicable as time flies when Janie makes tough decisions. It can be rather unsettling, if sometimes unbelievable.

My biggest complaint, about all the Janie books actually, is that various portions of the books are regularly, continually recapped. Yet the novel is still compelling with a wonderful sense of family, with its mistakes, messes, and love.

In the end, I felt that Caroline B. Cooney fulfilled my childhood (and now, adult) emotional investment in this series with Janie Face to Face. Definitely read the series in order for a maximum impact!

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