16 November, 2013

Review: The Voice on the Radio (Janie Johnson #3) by Caroline B. Cooney

Cover found on Goodreads.

Goodreads.com summary: 

The kidnapping is long past, and the Johnsons and the Springs are on the way to restoring their lives. Janie is ever grateful to her devoted boyfriend who helped her through it all. As Janie tries to balance herself between the two families, she feels torn. It seems the only thing keeping her together is her love for Reeve, but he is away at college and Janie misses him terribly. 

For Reeve, college life seems overwhelming. And as a first-time disc jockey at his college radio station, he is discovering that dead air can kill you. To fill the silence, he finds himself spilling Janie's story over the airwaves. Reeve is so sure that Janie will never find out what's making his broadcast such a hit that he doesn't stop himself. What will be the price for Janie?


ISBN: 978-0-385-74240-5
Cost: $7.99
Edition: Paperback

For me, these books are a call back to my childhood. I can remember being in the eight grade and reading the first two books with feelings of amazement that someone could have picked out that she was the victim of the child kidnapping. To be honest, the feeling of amazement didn't go away when I finished the first two books, and I was left with the question. What happens after that second book ends. Janie gets to go back to her life in Connecticut and the family left behind has to deal with that. The Voice on the Radio definitely provide some of the answers to the questions raised in the second book.

A full year has happened since the events of Whatever Happened to Janie? and we are introduced to the fact that Reeve, lovely Reeve who is the boy-next-door that every girl wishes she could have, has gone off to college. After a life of wanting to be heard from under his three older siblings accomplishments, Reeve joins with his college's radio station with the hopes and dreams of becoming a deejay, of captivating millions of people with the sound of his voice. But once he's move to prime-time airing at 10 pm, Reeve discovers that it's not as easy as it was at 3 am when there wasn't anyone listening. Now he has so many people listening, and he's about to screw it up without anything to say.... that is until he realizes he has a story he can tell. The only problem is, it's not his story, it's Janie's. 

Without concern to protecting the innocent, Reeve launches into Janie's story, and thus starts a series of events he couldn't foresee. Janie isn't there, she won't ever find out, he thinks. And after all, it's a story for the media and he knows the full details of both sides of the story. But the problem is, Janie does find out. And she's beyond devastated and upset. True to the form of the first two books, Cooney makes it a point to have a struggle for our hero and heroine, giving more depth to Reeve to prove that even the boy-next-door isn't perfect.

The book does however raise a few more questions. At the end of Whatever Happened to Janie? readers were left with the impression that Hannah was lost, a statistic in the city of New York City in the life of a seemingly wasted junkie. However, it's on the same night that Janie finds out about her life being aired to the world that Reeve receives another phone call, one from someone claiming to be Hannah. Unfortunately, our protagonist chooses to disconnect the call instead of answering the question that the person has, and eventually erases the recorded call. The book ends on what I'd call a cliff-hanger, with Janie telling Reeve that the need to talk after ignoring him for nearly two weeks. 

All in all, it's a good read no matter if you're 12 or if you're 24. I would recommend reading the previous two titles Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie? before picking up this novel. After all, series don't make much sense if you try to start in the middle.

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