Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Review: See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne

Title: See Jane Run
Author: Hannah Jayne
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: January 1st 2014
Pages: 288
Genre: Young Adult mystery
Source: Bought
Riley Spencer never thought twice about keeping secrets from her parents--not big ones, at least. They didn't need to know that her math tutor was also her boyfriend and that cocktail dress she "borrowed" from her mom would be back before she missed it. But when she finds a birth certificate with the name Jane O'Callahan wedged inside her baby book, Riley must face the reality that her parents are the ones who might be lying to her.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

See Jane Run is very different from what I’d expected. I had assumed that Jane would find out that her parents did kidnap her as a child, and that the rest of the novel would be Jane dealing with that and figuring out her past. But there is so much more to See Jane Run. The mystery goes in a very unexpected direction, which I really appreciated. The suspense is expertly done: throughout the novel, I was trying to figure out along with Riley what was going on, and just like Riley, I had no idea who to trust and what to believe. I’m not sure if the plot is entirely realistic and logical at all times, but that didn’t even bother me because the suspense is so well-done and the mystery captured my attention throughout.

The characters are okay. I felt for Riley, but she also frustrated me to no end because she can be incredibly dumb at times – there are many situations when she just seems to completely lack common sense or logic. I feel bad for judging this because she is in very stressful and traumatic situations and of course I can’t imagine what anything like this would be like, but as an outsider, she frustrated me to no end with her lack of rational thinking. The secondary characters are pretty good, but I wish the parents’ characters had been more developed, considering how important they are for the story. Shelby, too, seemed more of a cut-out than an actual person. I really liked JD – for once, a romantic interest with depth!

The ending is a little too happy for my tastes, and I don’t think it’s entirely realistic. Like I said, the story takes a very unexpected turn, which is good, but this means that the side plot that turns into the main focus ends up providing a resolution for the central conflict and all the other issues that are addressed over the course of the novel.  I understand why Hannah Jayne must have done this – a 300 page book doesn’t have time to resolve each of these conflicts separately – but the set-up just seemed a little too convenient for me, and I would have preferred for things to end up a little less perfect.

I know large parts of my review are very negative, but that’s not really what I’m trying to say. This book isn’t perfect – logic just isn’t its strong suit, and some of the characters lack depth – but I really did enjoy this. It’s entertaining, unexpected, and suspenseful, so if you’re looking for a fun mystery, you should definitely give See Jane Run a try!


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