The History of Jane Doe

Michael Belanger. Dial, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2881-8
Belanger’s contemplative first novel seriously addresses first love, depression, and grief from the perspective of an amateur historian grappling with an unexpected loss. High school senior Raymond Green is struggling to understand what happened with his ex-girlfriend, referred to as Jane Doe. Jane and Raymond’s relationship didn’t end happily, and Raymond is writing a history of Jane to unravel the events leading up to the book’s climax (“History isn’t a straight line from the beginning to the end. You’ve got to study everything in between. That’s where the real answers are”). Belanger gives Raymond a wry sense of humor, which balances the book’s heavy themes with a light tone, and Raymond’s conversations with his therapist are successfully used to impart important messages about mental health without feeling forced. Readers looking for a moving, realistic portrayal of depression will appreciate this exceptional debut. Age 14–up. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 06/05/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7352-2882-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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