Title: Jane Anonymous
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Goodreads Rating: 4.11 (of 453 ratings)
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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?
Disclaimer: I received a finished copy courtesy of Wednesday Books. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.
Y’all, my brain won’t leave this book. It just wants to bask in its unforgettableness, darkness, and complexity. IT WAS SO MUCH. I feel emotionally and mentally tired with how intense of a read this is, but trust me, if you’re up for the feels and darkness, then this is a must read because it was truly brilliant.
(also, like, i’ve read two truly dark books in the past, like, two months. i was once a girl of fluff and feels and happy endings – WHO even am I??)
I’mma just list all the things I truly loved about this book because there was so much and I’m not sure if this book has left me fully capable of full sentences.
➡️ the psychology! I’m not going to lie, but I wasn’t 100% convinced that the rep was going to be amazing with this. I feel like I’m read a book or two like this, and it didn’t show the authentic experience that happens once a person experiences a kind of trauma like this. While I can’t speak to the authenticity of the rep, you can tell that Faira Stolarz did her homework and wanted to be as realistic as she could to the struggles that Jane faced.
➡️ Jane! Omg, Janeeeeeeee. Her characterization and psychology was everything. Wow, everything about her was intensely done – and she herself, an intense character. You felt for her, you screamed for her, and you related to her. She faced unspeakable trauma, and you could see just how much it affected everything. The changes she goes through is so palpable throughout the read, and she is so one that you just instantly root for. You get into her mind so much in this read, and it’s incredible sometimes how I felt like I was her.
➡️ the characterization! As you can see, Jane’s characterization was wonderfully done. However, all of the characters had a lot of details to them as well. From Mason to Jane’s parents to Shelby to more, all of them were given a lot of attention and fully developed psyche. You understand why they did what they did, and you got into their brains as well. Faria Stolarz didn’t leave them behind.
➡️ Nothing added that wasn’t needed! As I mentioned, I read another book regarding a kidnapped victim, and the story was all focused on a romance. I was a bit concerned that this would happened with this especially since YA has a habit of trying to always add a romance. However, this story didn’t try to do anything but focus on Jane’s story of healing and survival. It didn’t add any unnecessary drama, romance, or things just for the sake of it.
➡️ the writing! I’ve read a few of Faria Stolarz’s works, and this might have been her best. Project 17 used to be one of my favorites, and her Dark House series still gives me chills. Her writing is compelling and easy to read. The format she created – flipping between then and now – was fascinating and definitely kept my attention. She did amazing things with pacing, and I was forever eager to get back to reading it to figure out what was truly going on.
➡️ the purple on the cover! It’s totally vain of me, but dear gosh, I love that purple. This book is beautiful – inside and out – and trust me, I totally recommend getting it for both of these reasons.
➡️ the message! As I said in the previous point, this book is beautiful inside and out. This book provides a message of hope. Once you come out of trauma, no, you’re not just back to normal and you’re perfectly fine. This book doesn’t show a rose colored glasses images of recovery – it shows the grittiness of picking up all the pieces and trying to move past the trauma you survived. It still provides a message of hope inside while still showcasing the darkness.
I also did guess the biggest plot twist from the few beginning of it happening, but I was honestly 100% fine with that.
The only thing that I really wasn’t a fan of was the ending. I felt like the Faria Stolarz left things vague and open for a reason – and I was fully okay with that. However, the epilogue felt like it was trying to tie things up in a nice little bow that honestly hampered the rest of the feel and vibe of the novel. It was just too strange and didn’t feel organic to the rest of the amazing story that Faria Stolarz crafted. Other than that, it was an incredible read, but this epilogue was a bit of disservice to it.
rating: Anna because this was just one epilogue from being perfect
representation: kidnapping survivor, trauma survivor
content warnings: kidnapping, gore, graphic descriptions of injury (self-inflicted, accidental, and inflicted), light description of some (potential) unwanted touching
read this if you: like dark reads that dive into psyche so incredibly well and show a true, realistic portrayal of survival and recovery
What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!