Janie Face to Face by Caroline B. Cooney
The story that started in The face on the milk carton continues in this fifth installment. Now 20 years old, Janie, the kidnap victim who didn’t know she had been kidnapped, is at college in New York City. She alternates weekend visits to her biological parents in New Jersey with trips to Connecticut to the parents who raised her. The Connecticut parents believed she is their grandchild, daughter of their own daughter Hannah, who in fact had kidnapped Janie. Janie, her biological family and her Connecticut friends all get letters signed from true crime writer Calvin Vinesett, asking for their help in writing a book about her kidnapping. Janie and everyone else refuses to cooperate, but Janie learns a man she has dated for six weeks set up their first meeting in order to do research on her for the author. She cuts off all contact with him, then reconnects with former boyfriend Reeve. Interspersed with Janie’s story is Hannah’s narrative of her life, living on the fringes of society, all the way back to the kidnapping. The reader gets a detailed account of Hannah’s feelings and motivations, as well as her plans for the future. The author includes how Janie’s biological parents and each of her siblings reacted to her kidnapping, and the years after, through their reunion and up to the current time of the book. I have loved every book in this series! At the end the author includes a note with background of how she got the idea for the original title, intending to finish it with an untidy ending. Although she never planned to write a sequel, many readers wrote her wanting to know what happened to Janie. So she wrote not only the sequel, but several more titles, following the main characters into their lives after high school. I found this book especially satisfying, seeing how all the characters are moving on with their lives. Caroline Cooney has created people with whom I feel a deep connection. I’m glad she responded to readers’ letters asking for more!