Whatever Happened to Janie?
Caroline B. Cooney. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $16.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31035-2
Readers left on the edge of their seats at the conclusion of The Face on the Milk Carton will race to get their hands on this equally gripping sequel. Janie is an illegally adopted child who discovered the existence of her natural parents 12 years after her kidnapping. As this phase of the saga begins, Janie Johnson (nee Jennie Spring) has contacted her real mother and father, who have lost no time in reclaiming her. Trying to do the right thing, the 15-year-old agrees to leave her much-loved adoptive parents' home in a small Connecticut town and move to the Springs' crowded New Jersey split-level. The Springs' expectations prove to be too great for homesick Janie, who cannot stop thinking about the pain her adoptive parents are suffering and feels guilty whenever she begings to be the slightest bit happy in her new household. Janie's struggle to sort out who she is and where she belongs turns out to be profoundly upsetting not only for herself, but also for both sets of parents and her natural older sister and three brothers. Cooney builds a strong case for the rights of adoptive parents while painting a sympathetic portrait of birth parents who have given up a child, unwillingly or otherwise. The power and nature of love is wrenchingly illustrated throughout this provocative novel, which expresses multiple points of view with remarkable understanding. However strange the events of this book, the emotions of its characters remain excruciatingly real. Ages 12-up. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993