*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Janie Face to Face" by Caroline B. Cooney

First, a little bit of back story.

I first read The Face on the Milk Carton about a decade ago (weird that I can say that now).  I was in the eighth grade and picked it up in a teacher's classroom because I had finished whatever I was currently reading.  I thought the premise was interesting so I went on the read the rest of the series.  The Face on the Milk Carton kept my attention and I couldn't put it down.  The same was mostly true for Whatever Happened to Janie, though it wasn't quite as enticing.  The Voice on the Radio was a bit of a letdown.  I felt like it wasn't really necessary as a book, but it wasn't bad.  Then I read What Janie Found.  I remember thinking that I was finally going to see some resolution.  Hannah was going to get what was coming to her.  Janie was finally going to confront someone who deserved it. And then I got about a chapter or two away from the end and realized there just wasn't enough book for there to be a good conclusion.  And there wasn't.  Caroline B. Cooney took the easy way out and Janie went home like nothing ever happened.

I found out about Janie Face to Face just a few weeks ago and had that glimmer of hope that I would get some resolution.  Then I made the mistake of reading the Author's Note before reading the book.  Seeing that Cooney never meant to write any of the sequels immediately lowered my expectations for this one.  I could be wrong, but it felt like the books exist for paycheck purposes, not for the love of the story and characters.  But I was still hopeful...so I read the book, and here's what I thought.

This book started off strong for me.  I loved that Cooney showed Hannah's point of view (though the "Piece of the Kidnapper's Puzzle" thing got a bit too repetitive after awhile)  As her sections progressed, I just kept thinking that there was finally going to be the conflict that that all of these books seemed to be leading up to.  Finally Hannah would get caught and punished.  Finally.  I struggled with the set-up of this novel though.  It made sense that Hannah would have her own chapters, but I didn't like the way Cooney transitioned from everyone else's point of view.  Unlike the other novels, we see the point of view of Stephen, Kathleen, Sarah Charlotte... This pulled me out of the story somewhat since it came across a more of a tell instead of show writing process and I'm not used to it with this series.  That also meant that I thought there was way too much crammed into the chapters not focused on Hannah.  I wish that the points of view had been separated a bit more (at one point, the pov switches from Reeve to Janie practically in mid sentence.  Moments like that especially bugged me).

Okay, so as for the story itself- there were certain elements that were great.  There was a mystery element that I quite enjoyed.  I certainly was on the edge of my seat at one point.  I wish that Reeve and Janie had grown up more.  Considering what they have gone through (especially Janie), they still seemed awfully juvenile and come across like they think they are smarter than everyone (since they don't seem to listen to the opinions of anyone around them).  They are too haste to make the decisions they make (trying to avoid spoilers, so being vague).  As for the rest of the characters, they come across very one dimensional and if I hadn't been introduced to them previously, I would have been extremely confused as to who was who.  I finished this book feeling very let down and felt like I had wasted some of my time.  I hate to say it, but I wish that Cooney has stuck with her original plan of only writing the first book.  At least then I could have longed for more, but not had to feel annoyed at the nice tidy fairy tale ending that felt completely false and useless.

*By they way.  What is going on with these new covers?  Why are they look like a poster for a horror movie?  Yes, kidnapping is terrifying, but not in the the creepy demon sort of way.  The original covers are WAY better*

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. This is the end of Janie's story and was my favorite book out of the series, a very nice way to end the series :)


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