November 19, 2017

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Pick of the Day: Janie Face to Face (Audio)

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Janie Face to Face. By Caroline B. Cooney. 9 cassettes or 9 CDs. 11 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6246-1, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-5116-8. $77.75.
Gr 7 Up–Cooney wraps up her popular thriller romance series that debuted more than 20 years ago about a young girl who discovers her face on a milk carton, setting in motion a series of rollercoaster events that affected many lives. In this installment (Delacorte, 2013), Janie Johnson/Jenny Spring is still walking the tightrope between her “real” parents and the parents who raised her for most of her life and is desperately trying to figure out who she is. Narrator Alyssa Bresnahan has a difficult task, as Cooney moves the viewpoint from character to character in order to present the whole story. She conveys the confusion and frustration of Janie/Jenny using a higher pitch and alternating volume as she goes from shy and fearful to strong and joyful.  Bresnahan tackles each of the secondary characters including Jenny’s brothers and sister, both sets of her parents, on again off again boyfriend Reeve, and the unstable kidnapper Hannah who started it all. Each voice has a unique quality and the character comes through clearly thanks to the narrator’s use of tone, pitch, and volume. Those unfamiliar with the series will still be able to follow the plotting as Cooney continually refers back to past events. However, after listening to this engrossing tale, they are sure to want to discover how it all started. Cooney has also included a bonus short story, “What Janie Saw,” that fans of the series will embrace with gusto.– Shari Fesko,SouthfieldPublic Library, MI

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