Jane Anonymous follows the story of Jane, a seventeen-year-old who was held captive for seven months. Everyone expects her to be the same after returning home but Jane is not sure who she is, much less who is she supposed to be.
Thank you for Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour! Check out a fan-made playlist, my favorite quotes, (and more surprises) for Jane Anonymous.
Title: Jane Anonymous
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
I received an eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.
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?
Trigger warnings: kidnapping, PTSD
Jane Anonymous is a seventeen-year-old adjusting to being home after being held captive for seven months. The more everyone around her acts as though everything is normal, the more she feels isolated and confused. In an effort to understand what happened to her, Jane begins to write in a journal about the “then” and the “now.”
While it took me a few pages to get into the rhythm of reading Jane Anonymous, I easily found myself finishing it in two sittings. Yet that was partly because I kept crying and needed to know what happened so I had less reason to cry. I didn’t expect to cry while reading Jane Anonymous as much as I did. This review was hard to write because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to divulge. This book, similar to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a book that needs to be experienced as it was written. So I decided to comment only on the “now” part of the story, with a few allusions to the “then.”
Even before we understood the details of what Jane went through, Stolartz wove striking imagery of how it affected her in Jane’s hyper awareness of certain smells, items, and people. It was just enough to give us an idea of why Jane felt the way she did, even if we didn’t really understand the why. In doing this, Stolartz explores how traumatic events can change how people view their surroundings and life in the aftermath.
In the “now,” there was a big focus on Jane’s relationship with her parents, best friend, and the boy she was sort of speaking. This aspect complicated– and in some ways, stalled– Jane’s healing process. Jane was kidnapped. Everyone in her life was left behind. Her return doesn’t automatically heal the wounds in all of them. I appreciated that Stolartz took the time to explore the messy and sometimes problematic ways that Jane’s loved ones try to heal as much as she did with Jane’s own healing process.
One of my favorite topics in the book was healing from trauma. There are points in the book where Jane is more or less forced by her mom to visit a therapist because she did not think Jane was putting in any effort into recovering. To that I respond, coping mechanisms don’t need to make sense to others. Jane is doing what she can and so long as she does not causing herself or other harms, her parents and professionals need to back off.
It was painful to see therapy being used against Jane. No one should be forced to go. EVER. Therapy is a very vulnerable process and having someone pry into the occurrences of Jane’s missing seven months was only bound to create more distress. When the patient needs to be ready to accept help, it needs to be from someone they trust and feel comfortable with. It sometimes takes multiple attempts to find a therapist like that.
In essence, Jane Anonymous is the story of a survivor trying to understand and heal from the traumatic event that happened to her in a way others don’t seem to understand. It is tragic but hopeful, confusing but clear, and overall poignant.
- I want to stay in the space between days– the space where I don’t have to worry about letting people down or saying the wrong thing. The space with no expectations.
- While they were enjoying life like nothing ever happened, I was stuck here living mine, because everything had.
- They all declare a safe space and tell me I can say whatever’s on my mind, but that’s only true if what I have to say is what they’re prepared to hear.
- They leave me feeling. Even more isolated.
- You’re free now, but still you choose to lock yourself up.
- I don’t want brunch. She doesn’t want reality.
- She smiles, just “happy” to make me “happy.”
- No one found me. And I’m still searching for missing myself.
- If it weren’t for my writing, I’d have no voice either.
- What will it take to drown my thoughts?
- Life isn’t a race. You go at your own pace, okay?
Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.
Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.
Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.
Click here to enter to win 1 of 2 finished copies of Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz. Open only to U.S. and Canadian residents. This giveaway starts January 7 and ends January 21.