See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne Review

Friday, January 3, 2014

Title: See Jane Run
Author: Hannah Jayne (Twitter)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date: January 7, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher

I know who you are. When Riley first gets the postcard tucked into her bag, she thinks it's a joke. Then she finds a birth certificate for a girl named Jane Elizabeth O'Leary hidden inside her baby book.

Riley's parents have always been pretty overprotective. What if it wasn't for her safety...but fear of her finding out their secret? What have they been hiding? The more Riley digs for answers, the more questions she has.

The only way to know the truth? Find out what happened to Jane O'Leary.
Have you ever read The Face on the Milk Carton? That is, essentially, what I expected when I first began reading See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne. The mystery within the pages is set up early on, almost before we truly get to know our characters and our protagonist, which leads readers to believe that this mystery will dominate the novel above all else. I figured that the mystery, because of this, would be pretty cut-and-dried, but I was surprised to find that Ms. Jayne didn't hesitate to have us second-guessing, peering over our shoulders and really, honestly, topsy-turvy throughout. That is, essentially, what makes a good mystery after all, and it is a large part of why the novel ended up working fairly well for me.

While much of the novel was rife with paranoia and speculation, however, we weren't offered nearly as much mystery or depth from Riley, our protagonist. On one hand, she's an incredibly sympathetic character, as we can sense her palpable anxiety from the minute the novel begins. On the other hand though, Riley fails to use any sort of logic or common sense when she could have probably easily discovered the root of the mystery, if only through asking the proper questions. Rather, we watch as Riley makes countless poor decisions, and we're helpless but to beat our head against a wall, begging this girl we really want to like to simply stop, take a breath and then proceed. At the same time though, you could sense an air of vulnerability about her that made you desperate to like her, regardless of her numerous character flaws. It must be said that I also really struggled with Riley's best friend, Shelby. The girl was so antagonistic, unfailingly blunt and constantly swapping between logical and illogical that the scenes with her actually pulled me out of the story more than once. If she'd been a bit more tempered and supported Riley's persona better, I think she could have worked.

In terms of the mystery itself, See Jane Run isn't a slam-dunk, but it does have a solid setup. Yes, there were several plot holes throughout the novel, but just when I thought things were about to unravel, Ms. Jayne would patch up the fragmented pieces and send us down another path. I'm not sure it was entirely logical in the way that the mystery played out either, but I can appreciate the direction in which the novel took us. It was different than I'd anticipated, and there's something to be said for that, in and of itself. Furthermore, there is a sweet romance that leaves its mark on the story and the plot, and the connection between JD and Riley heightens the stakes and further draws us in, despite a few little flaws through the novel.

Overall, See Jane Run was a solid, but not perfect novel. Regardless of the flaws though, I found myself rather enjoying the story as a whole, and I could overlook many of the little issues to appreciate the story in the end. I give it a solid 3.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA novels, especially those who like mysteries and thrillers.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Wonderful review, Melissa! I do enjoy mysteries and I can even look the other way (a bit) if the plot isn't completely logical as long as it's a fun ride. It sounds like Jane and her friend could be trying at times so that would diminish some of my enjoyment. Stupid, rash, or unbelievable decisions really affect my view of the character. Sounds like you enjoyed this overall, at any rate. :)

  2. Now I want to know cos yes I guessed the first thing too

  3. The lack of common sense would make me want to smack her upside the head Gibbs-style. Sounds like an interesting story, nonetheless.

  4. I too thought it was going to be like Face on the Milk Carton, but after reading your review, I think I'll move on to my next book and leave this one for when I need some lighter fare.

  5. If there's something I can't handle with a main character in a YA mystery novel, it's the lack of logic. I just can't deal with the frustrations that comes along with such characters. I've read Truly Madly Deeply by this author and had a similar issue with the main character. It does sound like the mystery part is strong despite plot holes though, so I might give it a shot if it becomes available at the library.
    Great honest review, Melissa.

  6. I haven't heard of this one, though I really enjoy a good mystery novel. Just the fact that you were able to overlook flaws is a good indication that I will probably enjoy this. Great review, Melissa - thanks for putting this on my radar! :)

  7. Since this is obviously not what I think it is about, it sounds pretty good. Though the friend might drive me nuts. I need good characters. On second thought, Riley might make me a little nuts too.
    But if you could lose yourself temporarily in the novel to enjoy it, that's good enough for me. I'll put it on the TBR. I love mysteries!

  8. This one actually sounds right up my alley. I haven't really heard much about this one until now - and flaws aside, it still sounds as if it would keep me on the edge of my seat. Great review Melissa!

  9. It's funny, but every so often, I find myself picking up a thrilling YA mystery -- which isn't usually my fare of choice. I've had my share of the ones that work for me (like Burning Blue) and the ones that didn't. This one sounds like it would have been promising, but the fact that the main character proves a bit less accessible than I'd normally like makes me nervous.


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