What Janie Found by Caroline B. Cooney

A young woman still dealing with the knowledge that she was kidnapped as a child discovers an upsetting truth about the woman who stole her.

What Janie Found is the fourth book in a series about Janie Johnson, which began with YA classic The Face on the Milk Carton. Imagine while eating your cafeteria lunch you see your own face on the side of a milk carton as a missing child–that’s Janie’s story. It’s a powerful book (and was made into a fabulous TV movie with Kelli Martin). In it, and in the follow-up books, Whatever Happened to Janie? and The Voice on the Radio, Cooney explores all the tensions that would naturally emerge in such a situation, with Janie now caught between two families.

In this fourth installment, Janie discovers that her father is in touch with his daughter–the woman who kidnapped Janie when she was only three. She has to decide whether to act on this knowledge and come face to face with the monster who ruined her life. It’s an underwhelming read, lacking the vitality I remember from the first two (I didn’t read The Voice on the Radio) and feeling very much like Cooney’s phoning it in at this point.

This is the third book I’m reading for the Banned Books Challenge. I have no clue why anyone would ban this book, apart from a cursory mention that the kidnapper was arrested for prostitution. This book really couldn’t be tamer. I don’t get it, really I don’t.

And speaking of banned books, RIP Kurt Vonnegut, my mom’s favorite writer. The best tribute I’ve seen thus far is here.

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