A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some helpful information about what to do to if someone tries to abduct you, and what to do if you're captured.
Everyone is broken in some way; it's part of being human. We need to learn how to carry our broken pieces with us because they make us whole, and they aren't always necessarily negative. If you need help healing, keep looking for someone who will really listen and hear you; that's when healing can really begin.
Positive Role Models
Jane is a good model of resilience, perseverance, and courage. She never gives up trying to find a way to escape her captor, enduring lots of physical pain while doing so. She never gives up. Best friend Shelley and boyfriend Jack model tremendous patience and understanding during Jane's recovery. Most adults, including Jane's parents, are well-meaning and supportive but not genuinely helpful, until Jane finds the right therapist.
Violence & Scariness
A kidnapping victim is grabbed, gagged, drugged, and kept locked in isolation for seven months before escaping. There aren't many direct descriptions of violence and no gore, although blood and pain are mentioned mainly from attempts to escape. Several instances of self-harm are mentioned without detailed descriptions. Lots of fear and psychological torment during both captivity and recovery. The victim has hazy memories of a sexual nature that hint at sexual assault or worse, but she isn't sure anything like that really happened. Mention of a suicide by gunshot but nothing is described.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A remembered dream briefly describes kisses and caressing, and hints at possible sexual assault.
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"Bitch," "f--king," "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
A few clothing, food, and car models mentioned incidentally.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A kidnapper drugs his victim during the abduction, and possibly during her captivity. Over-the-counter medications are taken once. Sedation in a hospital setting during the first few days of recovery.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jane Anonymous is a novel about Jane, a high-school senior who's kidnapped by a stalker and held in isolation in a small, basement room for seven months. During the abduction, Jane is grabbed and drugged to unconsciousness. There's very little directly narrated violence, but there's a lot of fear, psychological torment, and blood and pain from escape attempts mentioned. Jane also engages in self-harm a few times during both captivity and her recovery afterward. There are hints from a dream that she may have been sexually assaulted or worse, but she isn't sure if the dream is based on real events or not. Strong language is rare but includes "bitch," "f--king," and "s--t." Some romantic feelings are described along with holding hands and kissing fingers. There's some advice about what to do if someone's trying to kidnap you, if you're being transported against your will, and if you're held captive.
Is It Any Good?
This novel about kidnapping, captivity, and recovery is harrowing and riveting with a narrator so believable you may have to remind yourself that it is, in fact, a novel. Notes from Jane Anonymous at the beginning and end of the book add to that sense of realism. Author Laurie Faria Stolarz manages to keep the suspense building and the pages turning in Jane Anonymous as she moves back and forth in time, even though you already know how things turn out. Readers will relate to Jane as they try to put the pieces together right along with her. A few characters almost defy belief, and some readers may be frustrated by some vagueness that's never resolved.
Although there's very little violence that's directly described, and no gore, there are mature themes like self-harm, psychological trauma, and suspicions of sexual violence. Sensitive readers may need reminding that these types of incidents are extremely rare and encouragement to learn techniques to keep themselves safe. It ends on a hopeful but realistic note without feeling forced into a false "happily ever after."
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