Thursday, February 21, 2013

Janie face to face by Caroline B. Cooney

Janie face to face is the fifth and final book in The face on the milk carton series and as such this review contains ***SPOILERS***.  If you like to read series in order then don't read this review any further until you have read the other books in the series.  That said, Janie face to face can be read on its own as some of the back story is covered by the story.

For years Janie has been the girl with her face on the milk carton, the child who was stolen away from one family as a toddler and raised by another.  She has been forced to live with her real family, and returned to the family that raised her, she has been betrayed by those she has loved and moved on - and now she faces one of the biggest challenges of all, she is moving out of home to attend college.  It is not an easy transition, but it is the first chance she has really had to leave the story of Janie/Jennie behind, a chance to be just one face amongst thousands. 

When a well known true crime author starts approaching Janie, her friends, and her family it looks as though that delicate peace will be destroyed.  But her family and friends know about Janie, and for the most part they respect her privacy - but there are simmering resentments boiling under the surface, resentments that may finally surface as Janie plans one of the biggest days of her life.

I loved The face on the milk carton when I read it for the first time, probably not too long after it was first released.  It was a gripping story with drama and tension to burn, and the sequels that followed fleshed out Janie's world and answered some of the "what next" questions you couldn't help wondering about.  I was not expecting another book in the series, and while Janie face to face is a very satisfying conclusion for the series, there are also parts of the book that really bugged me - one of the biggest was time.  The first book was written and set in 1990, and this latest book was written and set in 2013 - yet the story is only supposed to have covered a few years in the life of Janie.  To be a really seamless story it really needed to have been set in a consistent time period - but maybe that is just something that bugged me because I had read the whole series.

If you are the kind of reader who really likes a conclusion to a series, then you will hopefully enjoy the way that Janie face to face finishes the story and provides closure.  One of the most interesting aspects of the book is that it bounces backwards and forwards between Janie and her family and friends, and the view point of Hannah, at times this was a little bouncy for my taste but it did drive the story forward and provided a well rounded view of their world.  If you enjoy the story then try and track down the made for TV movie which starred Kellie Martin, which from memory was a pretty good dramatisation of the story.

Janie face to face is not an in depth and dramatic story, there are times when it is very tense and packed with action, but there are also times when it is packed with "fluff".  I enjoyed it because it was a good read without too much effort on my part required to follow the story, and at times it was nice to laugh out loud about some of the things that happened, and to roll my eyes at others.

If you like this book then try:
  • The face on the milk carton by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Whatever happened to Janie? by Caroline B. Cooney
  • The voice on the radio by Caroline B. Cooney
  • What Jane found by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Girl, missing by Sophie McKenzie
  • Locked inside by Nancy Werlin
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • You are my only by Beth Kephart

Reviewed by Brilla

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