See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: SourceBooks Fire
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: family, friendship, secrets
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)
Summary: Riley’s parents have always been overprotective but when she finds a birth certificate in her baby book for someone named Jane, who is the same age of her… she starts to wonder if her whole life is a lie. Determined to find out who Jane is and what her parents have been hiding, Riley decides to do her research any way she can.
Did you read The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney when you were a kid? That was a popular pick in my elementary school, and I couldn’t help but think of it when Riley discovers this birth certificate in her own baby book, a book that contains no pictures of her as an actual baby.
I was a little nervous that See Jane Run would end up all too similar to Cooney’s book and was ultimately relieved to see that it went in a completely different direction. I was so far off base, and while it was nice to be shocked and surprised… the execution was a little rough.
From the beginning, I really liked Riley’s best friendship with Shelby. Even though Riley had recently moved far away from where she lived before, Shelby always made an effort to stop in and despite her over active imagination, her heart seemed to be in the right place. She’s with Riley when Jane’s birth certificate is found, and I’m not sure just how curious Riley would have been about it without Shelby’s proposed scenarios (as wild as they were). So now Riley is curious bordering on scared, piecing together small inconsistencies from conversations with her parents and wondering just what the heck is going on.
Even though Riley’s parents are super strict about her going out, they seemed to really mean well and love her so it was sad for me to think they were the villains of the story. I was just as confused as Riley, especially when she continued to hit brick walls in her search to find the truth. JD, a guy Riley met in detention, pitched in to help and I really liked him. He was funny and sweet and thoughtful, and nothing like Riley imagined. But their potential love connection took a backseat to the creepy situations unfolding in Riley’s life: the weird car that keeps following her, the web page that pops up on her computer unprovoked, etc. As See Jane Run continued, Riley’s life grew to be more and more dangerous.
Unfortunately, the slow pacing and lack of development in some of the story never left me feeling on edge enough. In fact, scenes would build up only to fizzle in a sluggish way and it had me questioning if this could be categorized as a true thriller. I was concerned for Riley, who had no idea who to turn to and who to trust. It seemed like everyone was lying to her at one point, and that’s a lonely place to be. But it wasn’t until the final chapters that I felt super wrapped up in the action and the potential hazards of this situation. (I probably could have done without the epilogue too.)
On the plus side, See Jane Run worked better for me than Jayne’s debut, Truly Madly Deadly. Why? This story line felt more relatable, and I must applaud an ending that comes out of left field like this one did. Still, pacing and development is so imperative to making a thriller thrilling and I needed more.