Kidnapped, book 3: The Rescue – by Gordon Korman (2006)

Kidnapped The Rescue

Despite her best efforts, Meg is still being held for ransom. Time is running out to meet the kidnappers’ demands. The Falconer parents, Meg’s brother Aiden, and FBI agent Harris frantically race to rescue her. Much of the story moves outside, into the deadly cold. The snowstorm scenes were described vividly, adding to the suspense of the book. In the end, we finally find out more about the kidnappers and why they chose Meg for their kidnapping scheme. This book is a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

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Kidnapped, book 2: The Search – by Gordon Korman (2006)

Kidnapped The Search

“The Search” picks right up where “The Abduction” left off.
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The second book in the trilogy focuses on Meg and the different ways she attempts to escape from her captors. Her parents continue to work with the FBI, although they have a somewhat contentious relationship with Agent Harris, with whom they had a bad experience in a previous series, “On The Run”. Aiden tries to find his sister on his own, but encounters one failure after another. Will the Falconer family ever get Meg back?

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Kidnapped, book 1: The Abduction – by Gordon Korman (2006)

Kidnapped The Abduction

If you’re look for action-oriented fiction that can be enjoyed by anyone in the family about fourth grade and up, consider Gordon Korman’s “Kidnapped” trilogy. I love that the premise of the book centers on a family and their love for each other. The Falconer family has already been through terrible times in the previous series “On The Run” (which maybe I should have read first). Just when life seems to be back to normal, the unthinkable happens: Meg, the 11-year-old daughter is abducted in broad daylight. Her 15-year-old brother Aiden is determined to find her, and their overwrought parents have to work with the FBI, whom they do not trust.

Instead of reading the printed book, I chose the audio version. My public library system had the downloadable audio-book available for checkout through the Hoopla app. The story was read aloud by two different narrators, one being the voice of Aiden and the other the voice of Meg. The book was about two and a half hours long, just perfect to listen to as I worked on sewing. Try out this trilogy!

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What Janie Found – by Caroline B. Cooney (2000)

What Janie Found

Life just hasn’t been right for Janie Johnson (really Jennie Spring) ever since she spotted a picture of herself on a milk carton in the high school cafeteria. She has been juggling two sets of parents, and two sets of home, one in Connecticut and one in New Jersey. But at least she is starting to feel close to her siblings. And she in on speaking terms with her ex-boyfriend Reeve again.

About the time it seems that life might be falling into place, Janie’s father has both a heart attack and a stroke that leave him in serious condition at the hospital. While trying to help her mother pay the bills, Janie comes across some paperwork that stuns her. She has been betrayed yet again. The only thing she wants now is to find the scumbag who kidnapped her all those years ago and ruined her life.

This volume of the Janie series does a fantastic job of adding depth to the characters of both Janie and her brother Stephen. They are each trying to deal with their anger – Stephen by moving to a new place to start over, and Janie by trying to track down the kidnapper. Neither one of them can have a normal life because they are obsessed with the crime that occurred when Janie was three. I loved the ending of this book, and the conclusion that Janie and Stephen, as well as Reeve and the younger brother Brian came to.

Excerpt:

Janie got through the whole hamburger thing. She was pleasant and even funny because she liked the three people with her. But she was aware of the terrible anger sitting next to her on the rock, waiting to come back in, and she could hardly wait to get home, and be by herself, and go back to that folder and let the fury take over.

She thought she could probably produce enough rage to power the house. She could plug the toaster into her hand and burn the bread with her anger.

But no. Once again, she must be controlled and careful and a total fake in front of everybody. Janie Johnson: Good Guy. She was so sick of being good.

The Voice On The Radio – by Caroline B. Cooney (1996)

The Voice On The Radio

 

This book follows “The Face On The Milk Carton” and “Whatever Happened To Janie?”

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“The Voice On The Radio” continues the story of Janie, the student who sees her own face on a milk carton in the school cafeteria, and realizes – to her horror – that she was kidnapped when she was three.

Janie Johnson is finishing up high school in Connecticut, while her boyfriend Reeve starts his freshman year at a college in Boston. Since it’s his first time living in a new place, Reeve is looking for a way to be known and listened to. The college has its own on-campus radio station, the perfect place to get his voice out there.

But being a radio DJ is harder than Reeve thought it would be. He blanks out on the air, unable to think of a thing to say – until he starts talking about his girlfriend Janie. Boston is far enough away from Reeve and Janie’s hometown that no one here seems to know about it. Before long students are calling the radio station, fascinated by the tale, and begging to hear more about Janie. By this time it has occurred to Reeve that perhaps it wasn’t the wisest thing to share on the air. But sadly, there is no way to un-say what has been said.

The Face On The Milk Carton/Whatever Happened To Janie? – by Caroline B. Cooney (1990, 1993)

The Face On The Milk Carton

Janie Johnson is having an ordinary lunch in the high school cafeteria when she notices a child’s picture on the back of her friend’s milk carton. The caption under the photo says, “Have you seen me?” Although everyone else ignores the missing child picture, Janie becomes obsessed by the idea that it is her face on the milk carton.

But no, it can’t be! Life is perfect. She has wonderful parents, a best friend Sarah-Charlotte, and a great guy next door – Reeve. Surely she’s not missing, and her parents aren’t criminals. It would have been better to not have seen the picture.

The short novel explores the idea of how we handle the truth. Do we turn a blind eye when it looks as if the truth will lead us somewhere that’s uncomfortable? Is it more important to pursue truth, or protect the people we love?

Whatever Happened To Janie

The story of Janie that began in “The Face On The Milk Carton” continues in this second slim book. Janie now knows the truth, but is deeply unhappy. No matter what she decides to do, she will feel incomplete. Her best friend Sarah-Charlotte is really no support to her, and Janie grows closer to her true-blue neighbor and boyfriend Reeve.

This book focuses on the complexity of what makes a family a family. Just because you are genetically related to people does not make you automatically love them. The heart cannot be ordered to bond with someone. I felt compassion for Janie’s agonized emotions.

This book really could have just been part of the previous book. In 1995, the two books were used to make the TV movie “The Face On The Milk Carton”. Although the movie was good, the books were better.