By, Caroline B. Cooney
Jane “Janie” Johnson was a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school. She was a happy-go-lucky tenth grader, who had several close friends and a boyfriend/neighbor Reeve. Additionally, she loved her life as it was, but everything changed one day at lunch. She grabbed her friend’s milk carton at school and finished it, even though she has a slight milk allergy. Janie turned the milk carton over to see whose face was on the milk carton today.
Imagine her surprise, when she realized that she was staring at a picture of herself in pigtails and a dress she remembers in a flashback. She looked at the picture of a missing three-year-old girl named Jennie Springs from New Jersey. Immediately, her mind begins trying to make sense of everything she knew about herself. She began having flashbacks of her at three-years-old wearing that dress and hanging out with a woman with twin babies.
She did her own investigations and her boyfriend Reeve became her confidant. She began having “daymares” or flashbacks of old memories, which included a strange woman and twins. In the attic, Janie found an old trunk, which had the mysterious letter H-written on it. In this trunk, she discovers papers and things done by someone named Hannah. Additionally, she found a dress in the old trunk that matches the dress that she was wearing in the picture on the milk carton.
She hides her discovery from her parents, but soon she begins asking her parent’s (Frank and Miranda Johnson) tough questions. Unfortunately, they knew that they had to tell her the truth, so she learned that her birth mother was their only daughter and was named Hannah. They explained how Hannah was a member of a cult and that when she finally came home, she had Janie with her. Her parents acted nervous, but finally explained that they are in fact her grandparents instead her parents.
Janie knew them as her only parents and she chose to call them her parents, but there was a twist in the story. Hannah might be kidnapper and her parents/grandparents were innocent. For reasons only Hannah knew, she left Janie with her parents and vanished out her own parent’s lives after returning to the cult. Fearing the cult will come after their granddaughter/daughter; the Javensen’s changed everyone’s name to Johnson and began moving around until they settled down.
Now, after hearing about the kidnapping, the Johnson’s are worried that they will lose Janie and Hannah will go to prison. Will Janie be able to stay with the only parents that she has ever known or will she be forced to say good-bye?
My Opinion on the Book
I really loved the way the author wrote this book from Janie’s/Jennie’s point of view. Additionally, I enjoyed being able to follow Janie’s emotions from the time she recognized herself on the milk carton to when she had Lizzie help her tell her parents what was going on. Finally, she was able to share the burden with her parents and they can work together to find a solution to the problem that they now face.
Janie tried so hard to work through the feeling, but she was unable to keep it from affecting every relationship she had from her parents to her friends. Luckily, she had a confidant in Reeve, her boyfriend and neighbor. I think the author Caroline B. Cooney did a wonderful job, showing the story and developing the story at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading the sequels. If you have a chance to read this book, be sure to write what you thought about it in the comments. I highly recommend this book for teens and adults alike. Especially if you like mystery, suspense, and drama.
PS: There is a movie about this book.
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©2015, Crystal S. Kauffman