Book: Whatever Happened to Janie?

"Whatever Happened to Janie?" by Caroline B. CooneyHow could it be possibly be true? But it is true. As Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl on the milk carton, she was overcome with shock. She recognized that little girl—it was she…

With the mystery of her kidnapping now unraveled, Janie’s story continues, and the nightmare is not over. No one can bring back of relive the twelve years gone by. The Spring family wants justice, but who is really to blame? The Johnsons know that they must abide by the decisions made, but it’s difficult to figure out what’s best for everyone.

Janie Johnson or Jennie Spring? Who is she? Certainly there’s enough love for everyone, but how can the two separate families live happily ever after?

The second paragraph of the back cover synopsis makes it sound like a thriller; the book cover makes it look like a mystery novel; but Whatever Happened to Janie? is neither. It’s a Young Adult novel that is steeped in family drama.

Whatever Happened to Janie? is the sequel to The Face on the Milk Carton, which I wrote about here. I didn’t want to comment on the story then, because where the first book ended was obviously not an ending. But this time I will, even if there are two more books that follow this one.

In the first book, we learned about the events that led Janie from being the three-year-old Jennie Spring to becoming the only daughter of the Johnsons. And we got to know most of the people in Janie Johnson’s life. In the second book, we got to know Janie Johnson for who she is: a spoiled brat.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the story is compelling. Whatever Happened to Janie? deals with the repercussions of Janie’s actions in the first book—of her discovery that she was a kidnapped child. But in this book, I have to say that it was very tough to like her.

I know it must be tough to find out that the life you’ve been living has been a lie, and now you have to return to the less-than-idyllic life that was really meant for you. … Okay, maybe I don’t know how that feels, but I understand enough psychology to know that this can cause trauma and other, ehem, psychological problems.

But I really found Janie infuriating in this book. Seriously infuriating. I was rooting for all the characters except her. And then the book ended, and I was happy.

I don’t know if I should have bought the whole series on blind faith. This is what got me in trouble with the Twilight series—buying the first three books without reading a single chapter. But I thought, because I found The Face on the Milk Carton promising, the books that continue the story would be the same.

I don’t know if I just set too high an expectation, but I was wrong.

I do know that I liked how it ended for the Springs. That’s why I was happy when I finished the book.

But I’m reading the third book now, and one of the characters I previously liked is starting to annoy me. So I’m kind of doubting my initial judgment. But that’s for another post, for a different day.

What can other people say about Whatever Happened to Janie? Find out through these links:
Common Sense Media
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Saba’s Awesome Reviews

And if you’re interested to get to know Janie, the series is available in some Fully Booked branches. I’ve yet to see them in National Bookstore or Powerbooks, but you can ask if they have them.

One thought on “Book: Whatever Happened to Janie?

  1. Pingback: Book: The Voice on the Radio « taking a break

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