Cooney remains a master of the gossipy, insider-style narration, and she never tips her hand. The answer to What Janie Found will keep readers guessing all the way to the end.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of the series may be reluctant to say good-bye to Janie Johnson, the unwitting kidnap victim whose efforts to deal with the trauma of her belated discovery of the circumstances surrounding her kidnapping have filled three riveting novels (beginning with The Face on the Milk Carton). Chances are they'll snap up this installment, which the publisher bills as the conclusion. Here Janie's "kidnap father," Frank Johnson, is gravely ill, and Janie, managing the accounting books while Mr. Johnson is in the hospital, discovers that all along he has been sending money to his birth daughter, Hannah--Janie's kidnapper. Janie feels betrayed, and so might the audience, given that an infallible character had found proof of Hannah's death in the preceding installment, The Voice on the Radio. After much gnashing of teeth and lengthy speculations by the major characters (Janie, boy-next-door Reeve and Janie's real brother Brian), they end up going to Colorado, where Hannah lives, because Janie wants to confront her. Conveniently, Janie and Brian's older brother attends college there and has only recently learned that his girlfriend happens to be the daughter of a retired FBI agent. Fortunately, the conflicts roil as hotly as the coincidences. While this novel is the weakest in the sequence, Cooney remains a master of the gossipy, insider-style narration, and she never tips her hand. The answer to "what Janie found" will keep readers guessing all the way to the end. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
What Janie Found is the fourth in the series where Janie saw her own face on a milk carton--a lost child, taken from her family when she was three. She felt uncomfortable with her birth parents and elected to stay with her adopted family. When her adopted father has a stroke, she is put in charge of the finances and finds a folder on her kidnapper, who is the real daughter, Hannah, of her adopted parents. Hannah kidnapped Janie, but, unable to take care of her, she brought Janie to her parents' and claimed she was their granddaughter. The material in the folder proves her father knew where Hannah lives and was sending her money. Janie is furious. She feels betrayed. Does she turn her adopted father in to the FBI? Janie sets out to find her kidnapper and demand answers. In the process she becomes closer to her real brothers and sees the value in doing the "right" thing by leaving the past behind. The people and their emotions are real as each one struggles to come to grips with how the kidnapping disrupted their lives. 2000, Delacorte Press, Ages 12 to 15, $15.95. Reviewer: Janet L. Rose
Seventeen-year-old Janie Johnson, also known as Jennie Springs, has been at war for months with many things--her boyfriend Reeve; the mysterious Hannah Jevenson, who kidnapped Janie/Jennie as a baby; herself, as she tries to decide how badly she wants to pursue her search to learn more about the woman who made her a famous "kidnapee." Janie's two families--that of her birth parents and the family that adopted from the kidnapper--get along well, but her siblings come with their own troubles. Younger brother Brian must accept an obnoxious identical twin brother whom, at one time, he idolized and refused to be separated from. Older brother Stephen is trying to establish his own life in Colorado, far away from being part of the family of the kidnapped and returned girl. And the birth mother, Miranda Johnson, stays by her own husband's side as he battles for his life after a devastating stroke. Numerous characters dance in and out of this novel, a smart final sequel to three other books about Janie. Using multiple viewpoints to express character perceptions, this easy to read mystery will appeal to adolescents who like intriguing human relationship stories. Genre: Mystery/Identity. 2000, Delacorte Press, Ages 12 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Anne Sherrill
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Cooney continues the story of Janie Johnson, which began in The Face on the Milk Carton (Delacorte, 1996). When her "adopted" father suffers a heart attack and a stroke, Janie must pay the bills. She finds a file labeled "H. J." with a checkbook inside. "H. J." is Hannah Javensen-her "adopted" parents' daughter-the woman who kidnapped her years before. Most disturbing is that her father has secretly known Hannah's whereabouts for years and has apparently been supporting her. Filled with anger, Janie decides to find Hannah in Boulder, CO, where, coincidentally, her biological brother Steve goes to college. With her ex-boyfriend Reeve, who betrayed her in Voice on the Radio (Delacorte, 1996), and younger brother Brian, Janie concocts a plan to get to Boulder. The plot revolves around the protagonist's conflicting emotions. One part of her wants to pore over the file and get all the facts; another part can barely look. One part would like to forgive Reeve; another cannot. She is also torn about wanting to confront Hannah and, at the same time, wanting to stop being her victim. Janie's solution is to pay off her kidnapper in full, thus cutting all future ties with her. In doing so, she is symbolically free. While this title is not as taut or compelling as the earlier works, and the plot may be confusing for newcomers, fans of the series will be glad to see this latest installment.-Roxanne Burg, Thousand Oaks Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Readers who followed Janie's trail from the first discovery of her
real family to her final decision about which name to use are in for even
more revelations in What Janie Found.
Read an Excerpt
Last seen flying west.
Over and over, Janie read those last four words on the report.
I could do that, she thought. I could be "last seen flying west." I too could vanish.
By not being here, I could be a hundred times more powerful and more present. No one could ever set me down. I would control all their lives forever, just by being gone.
She actually considered it.
She didn't worry about the logistics--plane ticket, money, shelter, food, clothing. Janie had never lacked for shampoo or supper or shoes and she couldn't imagine not having them.
She considered this: She could become a bad person.
In the time it took for a jet to cross America, she, Janie Johnson--good daughter, good friend, good student, good sister--with no effort, she could ruin a dozen lives.
She was stunned by the file folder in her fingers, but she was more stunned by how attracted she was to this idea--Janie Johnson, Bad Guy.
In all that had happened--the kidnapping, the new family, the old family, even Reeve's betrayal--nothing had brought such fury to her heart as the contents of this folder.
She couldn't even say, I can't believe it. Because she could believe it
easily. It fit in so well. And it made her so terribly angry.
She knew now why her older brother, Stephen, had dreamed for years of college. It was escape, the getaway from his massive store of anger.
She herself had just finished her junior year in high school. If college was the way out, she could not escape until a year from September--unless she escaped the way Hannah had, all those years ago.
Janie Johnson hated her father at that moment with a hatred that was wallpaper on every wall of every room she had ever lived in: stripes and circles and colors of hate pasted over every other emotion.
But gently she slid the police report back into the file folder and put
the folder in among the others, pressing with her palm to even up all the folders so that the one that mattered vanished.
It took control to be gentle. Her fingers wanted to crush the contents of the folder, wad everything up and heave it out a window, and then fling the folder to the floor and drag her shoes over it.
The drawer was marked Paid Bills. Her father was very organized, and now that he could do nothing himself, her mother wanted Janie to be organized in his place. For a few minutes, it had seemed like fun; Janie Johnson, accountant and secretary.
The drawer contained a long row of folders, each with a center label, each label neatly printed in her father's square typewriter-looking print, each in the same blue ink. Folders for water bills and oil bills, insurance policies
and tax reports.
And one folder labeled with two initials.
It was invisible in the drawer, hidden in the forest of its plain vanilla sisters. But to Janie it flamed and beckoned.
You don't have to stay here, being good and dutiful and kind and thoughtful, said the folder. You can be Hannah.
Reeve Shields was sitting on the floor, his back against the wall, his cutoff jeans and long tan legs sticking out toward Janie. Mrs. Johnson had been sure the project of Mr. Johnson's papers would include plenty of work for Reeve, but so far she had not thought of an assignment for him. That was okay. He was too busy studying Janie to sort papers.
Janie had a very expressive face. Her features were never still but swung from thought to thought. If he could read cheeks and forehead and chin tilt, he could read Janie.
But although he had lived next door to her ever since he could remember, and although they had once been boyfriend and girlfriend and had been through two hells together, right now he could not read her face.
He did, however, know that he wanted to read the contents of that file.
The label was very tempting. The way she had returned it to the drawer, the silence she was keeping--also very tempting.
Don't even think about it, he told himself. How many times are you going to jerk her around? She tells you how to behave, you say, Sure, Janie, and then do exactly what you want. You going to do it now, too? She's speaking to you
again, letting you here in the house again, and once again, you can't wait to trespass on her. You promised yourself you'd grow up. So maybe tonight would be a good time. Maybe tonight you should not look in that folder, which obviously contains the most interesting papers Janie has ever seen in her life.
But not for you, sport. Give it up. Offer a distraction, mention dinner, get out of the house, get away from this office, do not interfere.
So Reeve said, "Let's all go get a hamburger. Brian? Janie? Mrs. Johnson? You up for McDonald's? Or you want to go to Beach Burger?"
"Beach Burger," said Brian Spring quickly. He loved that place. It had its own oceanfront, a tiny little twenty-foot stretch of rock, and you could get
your hamburger and fries and milk shake, and leave your socks and shoes in the car, and crawl over the wet slimy rocks and the slippery green seaweed and sit with your toes in the tide. Of course, you had to get back in the car with wet pants and sticky salty skin, but he loved the smell of it: the sea scent you
carried home and then, sadly, had to shower off.
Brian felt so included here. It was weird to be part of a large friendly family like his own family in New Jersey and yet never feel included. Up here, visiting Janie (his sister, but not part of his family), he felt strangely more welcome.
That wasn't quite fair.
What he felt was less useless.
He missed his older brother, Stephen, badly. But Stephen was not going to return in any real way. A night here, a week there--but Stephen was gone.
Brian's twin was no company at all, still a shock to Brian, who had thought they would be best friends all their lives. Brendan had not noticed Brian for a whole year. And with the close of school, and the end of baseball (Brendan, of course, was captain and his pitching won the local and regional
championships and they even got to the semifinals) and now summer training camps--basketball and soccer--well, the best Brian could do was stand around and help fold his brother's jeans when he packed.
(Brendan even said that. "At least you know how to fold T-shirts," said
Bren. "Although I don't screw around with that myself, I just shove 'em in.")
And the other good reason for going to Beach Burger was that Brian wanted food in his hands, so that he wouldn't leap forward and yank that file folder out of Janie's hands. Because he knew in his gut that she had found something important. And everything important to Janie was important to Brian's family. Her other family.
But Brian at this moment did not feel a lot of affection for his own family. No matter what he did there, he was last in line. He was sick of it. Up here in Connecticut with Janie, he wasn't first, but he was part of them, and he wasn't going to wreck that.
What he was going to do, he decided, after the rest of them went to visit Janie's father in the hospital tonight, was walk in here boldly and scope out that folder, as if it were his business.
Because he was pretty sure it was his business.
From the Paperback edition.