What Janie Found
Caroline B. Cooney
What Janie Found, by Caroline B. Cooney, is the sequel to three other novels, all based on a similar theme. The genre is fiction, for a young adult audience, ages 13-16. The rating is a 3 on a scale of 1-4, with 4 being the best. Someone who has read the first three in the series would be the best reader of this book, but it is remarkable how easily this novel can stand alone after a brief reading of the introduction. The main character, Janie, was kidnapped at age three, and brought up by her kidnapper's parents, after her kidnapper disappeared. This unlikely plot is balanced by the more common and well- developed themes of love, guilt, family attachments, and all of their complexities. These universal themes help the reader go beyond the unlikely plot. Janie's need to know her kidnapper, Hannah, and the details about her life, drive this novel to a peaceful conclusion. A major strength is the character development of Janie, and also, surprisingly, the character development of Hannah in her absence. One weakness is the implausibility of the events, but again, this is countered by the universal nature of the more important themes of the novel.