Content Warnings: kidnapping, sexual assault, self-harm, negative therapy experiences, Stockholm syndrome, PTSD, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts drugging, talk of animal abuse, death of an animal, death of a grandmother, death of a sibling, mention of bulimia
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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?
This was wholly unremarkable.
I felt such a huge disconnect from almost every aspect of this story. It’s told in mostly alternating chapters between then (when she was kidnapped) and now (after escaping). Going back and forth between the two timelines pulled me away from the emotions I should have been feeling. The reader knows that Jane will make it out of everything so I wasn’t invested and dying to know how things would end.
Jane tells us in the prologue that this is her story that she is writing to work through what she experienced – part of which is not using real names for any characters of locations. This is something that makes sense and is done all the time, but instead of simply using fake names we instead get things such as No Name High School. It all felt very awkward.
The emotions and recovery process Stolarz explores in somebody that has been abducted made this mildly enjoyable. Reading this made me feel a bit anxious and paranoid, realizing that something like this could happen to anybody. I just wish the emotion had been connected the entire way through. I think what would have helped is if the story had been split into two parts – before and after – instead of alternating chapters.
In the end, this mostly reminded me of young adult books from the 2000s. It’s something I would have read then and likely been obsessed with. YA has just come so far since then but it’s as if this author’s writing style is stuck in the past.
A digital ARC was provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.