Jane Anonymous – Laurie Faria Stolarz – Wednesday Books – Published 7 January 2020
Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.
Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?
Jane Anonymous is a thriller that explores both the emotional trauma of being kidnapped and surviving captivity and the fallout and struggle and pressure to return to ‘normal’ post escape. It’s a heart wrenching book that made me want to slap the adults in Jane’s life. It’s a story about the power of emotions. It’s a story about fear and trust and starting over.
One morning, while stopping in early at work to grab her best-friend’s birthday present, Jane Anonymous is kidnapped. Shoved into a car trunk, drugged and then taken to a small, white room, she is given food, a list of instructions and little hope for escape. Fast forward seven months, Jane has escaped, but share carries the physical and mental scars of her captivity.
Jane Annoymous is written as if Jane herself is reliving her story, sharing it with the reader. The book is divided into Now and Then sections, flipping between the two. This gives readers the opportunity to experience Jane’s fear and torment of the kidnapping as it happened, and at the same time, understanding the struggle she has with returning to her old life and the expectations that are placed upon her. Thanks to the power of Jane’s emotions and little details, like the names and place names used—Jane Anonymous, No Name High School—it is all too easy to image this is a retelling of true events.
The manipulation and psychological torment Jane endures, only exacerbated when she discovers the details of her captor, are downright scary and also rather compelling. It makes Jane Anonymous a hard book to put down. There is a big twist that, while I saw it coming, is made all the more interesting by the emotional fallout it causes for Jane.
Despite two ‘love interests’ or at least two complicated guys, this isn’t a romance novel. Thanks to friendship and shared understanding, Jane is able to find someone to talk to and it’s easy to image romance in her future, but that isn’t the focus of this book, and I’m glad that the author didn’t make kisses and hand holding the solution to Jane’s troubles.
Jane Anonymous is a thrilling and addictive novel.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Abduction, expectations, recovery, trauma, therapy, friendship, parents, relationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: References to abduction, injury, trauma. Coarse language, f*** (5), sh** (11), as***** (2), bit** (2).
Published: 7 January 2020 by Wednesday Books.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.