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Whatever Happened to Janie? (1993)
by Caroline B. Cooney
Fiction, mystery
199 pages
Read 01.11.2015 – 01.13.2015

While I try not to give away important plot details, please note that I do discuss the book below. I will never give away any endings or big secrets, but remember that I will discuss the story and how I feel about it. Since this is a part of a series, there are some spoilers for the first book.

I don’t know if I’m going to finish the Janie series to be honest. For some reason, a lot of people love this book series. I am not one of them. I guess it’s because each book feels the same throughout. In the first one, all that really happened was Janie freaking out over the milk carton. OK, fair enough. Someone would. But for 200 pages? And then the second book is 200 pages of Janie thinking she’s a horrible person and her siblings switching between thinking she’s adjusting and that she’s a horrible person.

For those unaware, the Janie series chronicles a girl’s discovery of her face on a milk carton. After digging into her past, she learns that the people she has lived with for the last twelve years are not her real parents. Whatever Happened to Janie? is the sequel to the first book in the series The Face on the Milk Carton. I had a hard time liking either book. I could get through them both, but I felt like each scene in both was the same thing over and over again.

The second book brings Janie (er, Jennie) back to her real family. However, Janie has a hard time adjusting. She is not allowed to speak to her “parents” or her boyfriend or any friends from Connecticut for that matter so that she can adjust. I was really irritated with this part of the storyline. I can understand wanting her back, but to rip a fifteen-year-old girl from her friends? Are you kidding me? Then again, I suppose this does happen often enough in real life with people just packing up and moving frequently. I was just irritated with her sister who would think that she was just having trouble adjusting but then would fly off the handle and shout at her.

I’m just confused. Why is Janie just thrown into her old family? Why is she not taken to a counselor? Why does it feel at one point like her boyfriend is the only person in the book who makes sense?

I think these books were a good idea, but I’m not liking the execution. For that reason, I’ll likely skip books three and four.


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