Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

GoodReads Summary:
Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.
Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?
Jane AnonymousReview:
Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Jane Anonymous had me hooked from the moment I read the synopsis. Then I read the prologue and I literally couldn’t put this book down until I finished it. I devoured it in one sitting.
I was crying within the first ten percent of this book, which might not say much because I cry at the drop of a hat since having a baby, but still. I was sucked into this story, chewed up, and spit out in the final pages. I really liked the way this story was told. Jane Anonymous is telling us her story. She is writing everything down as a way to work through what she experienced. I thought this was brilliant because we feel what she’s feeling. We get invested in everything the way she does, and our whole world is rocked when we learn certain bits of information. I really liked the ‘anonymous’ aspect of the story. It takes place in ‘Suburb City/Town, New England State’ which is not a real place, but I thought it was a really interesting way to keep the story focused completely on Jane and her experiences. As someone who grew up in New England, I liked that the small town northern setting was there even if no actual places were named.
Jane is experiencing some serious PTSD. We follow her as she tells us her story in alternating chapters of now and then. I thought this was done well to add more suspense to an already excellent story. Then there’s the mystery of how she got from then to now.
This story was absolutely incredible. It had characters I alternated between loving and hating. There was the best friend that I loved at first and then hated and then loved again by the end of the book. Then her parents, I wanted to hate them at times, but also imagining how I would feel if something like this happened to my daughter, I couldn’t fathom how I would react. I think they were doing their best, and eventually, I ended up liking them.
Overall, I’m obsessed with this book. It may just be a new favorite. The writing was paced just right to keep me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I loved Jane and having her tell this story was an excellent choice. I will be shouting about this book from the rooftops for the next forever.

Quotes:

“I wonder if it matches the one inside my chest, where there used to be a heart.”

“We’ve all carried our regret around like anchors, struggling not to drown.”
“Shards of mirrored glass that reflected just what I’d become: a distorted version of the person I used to be.”

“We’re all broken in some way; it’s part of that being-human thing I was talking about before. The key is to learn how to carry your broken pieces as you move forward day by day.”

“It’s funny the way memory works, especially long-term memory, when the thing being remembered hits us, the brain pops like electricity. We think it’s so random—that timing of sorts. But there’s nothing random about it. Our brains are smarter than we are, equipped to recall things at key times, when we’re able to make the most sense of the information.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Red is for Remembrance – Laurie Faria Stolarz

Summary:
Nothing has been the same for eighteen year old Stacey since her boyfriend Jacob died. For months she stayed at the beach cottage they shared before Jacob’s tragic accident, refusing to give up hope that somehow, somewhere, Jacob was still alive.
But Stacey knows she can’t put off rejoining the world forever. Lucky to have a full scholarship to prestigious Beacon University, Stacey hopes she can finally put her past behind her.
Devastated when she starts having more disturbing dreams, Stacey once again turns to the folk magic she learned from her grandmother to find out what they mean. Her hopes that she can solve this mystery on her own are dashed when the college president calls her in for a private meeting-and reveals that his daughter Porsha is having nightmares too.
But while Stacey dreams of a ghost, Porsha is dreaming of a murder she’s convinced hasn’t happened yet. Porsha’s fragmented nightmares foretell a tragic death, and may also shed light on a shocking revelation that could change Stacey’s life forever. Together the two must decode their dark dreams to save a life-a risk that may cost them their own.

Review:
Okay, so I may have said at the end of the second book, that the series could have just ended there. This is still true, but I’m so very glad Stolarz went on to write this book. Red is for Remembrance was without a doubt my favorite book in this series. This book is going to be a bit harder than usual to review without giving away too many spoilers, but I’m going to do my best.
So, Red is for Remembrance is told with two different points of view. This kind of annoyed me a little because there wasn’t too much information on the second point of view. One is obviously Staceys, and the other is this mysterious person, Shell. He lives at a commune type place on Cape Cod. As soon as the Cape was mentioned I thought it was Jacob. The camp is a very strange place. I didn’t like it at all. This place was not a good environment at all and Shell figured this out. Shell was an interesting character. He has no memory of his life before coming to the camp and is expected to blindly follow what the campers in charge tell him. Big surprise, he doesn’t. While keeping up the pretense that he’s still completely loyal he starts remembering his life and starts doubting the intentions of the camp. Along side him his closest friend, Brick, helps him remember who he really is and the two try to plan an escape from the camp. Brick was kind of a secondary character, but I really liked him. He had a great personality. He was funny and always tried to make the best of things. Shell was also a great character. He had a hard time adjusting to the rules of the camp. He was very firm with what he believed and always tried to do the right thing without hurting anyone. Shell was a very sincere character, even though he was very confused about who he was. I liked the characters, but wasn’t so much a fan of the two points of view.
Now, Stacey’s part of the story. The book starts off with Stacey and Amber just settling into college. I really liked Amber in Red is for Remembrance. She’s a fair bit more mature. This might also just be me realizing that she’s just a weird character. But she really steps up for Stacey in this book. She really is a great friend, even if sometimes she’s wrong in her assumptions, it’s the thought and effort that count. Within the first couple of pages, there’s a brief description given of all that Stacey has had to go through in the past couple of years. I really enjoyed that. I feel like it reminded me of all the shit Stacey’s had to deal with, and how strong she is to have gotten through it all. Stacey is one of the strongest main characters I’ve read about in a while. In the beginning of this year she is too consumed with her loss and just wants to sleep all the time. Which I can seriously understand. But with some help from Amber and friends, Stacey starts being who she is again. She helps a young girl who experiences nightmares like Stacey. She’s always doing the right thing, even if it’s something really hard for her. She never strays from the path she knows she should take. And she believes in herself so fully. She is an amazing main character. Then there’s Porsha, the girl who is having nightmares. I wasn’t sure of her at first, but I ended up really liking her. She reminds me of Stacey a bit, just a little less confident. Once Stacey shows Porsha she’s not crazy she does everything she can to help this person that she’s dreaming about. Like Stacey she’s passionate about helping and wants to do the right thing. I loved all the characters in this story.
I said it already, but this was absolutely my favorite of the series. There were times that the description was so good I couldn’t help but cry right along with Stacey. I felt like I was mourning him as well. Red is for Remembrance was written very well. I still think this series is aimed for a younger reading age. There’s no swearing or really anything inappropriate in this book. Everything is put into a silly way, or described in code to be acceptable for the younger readers. I actually really ended up enjoying this series and following Stacey and gang through their adventures. So, anyone that thinks they might like them too should totally give them a try.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.

Silver is for Secrets – Laurie Faira Stolarz

Summary:
After two years of having nightmares, outwitting stalkers, and saving lives (including her own), Stacey’s memories of boarding school aren’t all rosy. This summer, Stacey, her boyfriend Jacob, and their circle of friends are looking forward to one last vacation before they start college: six good friends, a cottage on the beach, and no parents.
Just sun, surf, and sand. It’s perfect-until the nightmares return. But this time they’re not about one of her friends. They’re about Clara, the girl staying in another beach cottage. The dreams predict Clara’s death, but Stacey’s having a hard time getting Clara to stop chasing guys-including those who already have girlfriends-long enough to find out who’s stalking her.
Stacey can’t just stand by and watch Clara die, but the meaning of her dreams isn’t always clear. This time, they don’t warn her about the horrific consequences-a tragedy far beyond her worst nightmares that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Review:
I’m still a little in shock at the events in this book. It just all happened so fast. Okay, so Silver is for Secrets is the third book in this series. Stacey and friends have just graduated high school and they visit Cape Cod for a summer vacation. I’m actually originally from the Cape, so I feel that I judged the setting of this book more harshly than I would usually. So first off, there are no cruise ships here. The trip they do at the end of this book is not something you can do on Cape. Second, everything else was pretty much accurate. Cape Cod is a very good beachy vacation spot and I was a little excited when I realized this book takes place in my hometown.
Silver is for Secrets starts off as soon as the group gets to their destination. Within the first couple of pages Stacey is already having nightmares. I didn’t really like this. I mean sure, I like books with lots of action, but this is over doing it a bit. I would enjoy being able to see the characters happy with their lives for a few pages before all hell breaks loose. I think Stacey’s still my favorite character in this book. She’s strong and sincere and responsible. One of the things I loved most about Stacey was how genuine she is. She shows how much she fully believes in her magic, and how she’s going to help to make a difference. She’s always doing the right thing, even if her friends aren’t happy with who that has to do with.
And that brings me to Clara. I fucking hate Clara. She’s a stupid, bratty, attention seeking, little girl. Stacey spends this entire book trying to help Clara survive what she’s seeing in her nightmares and Clara spends her time screwing off. She’s fake and awful. There’s absolutely some mental issues that need to be addressed with Clara. I really don’t even have much to say about her, just that she sucks and spent her entire summer trying to ruin Stacey’s life. Oh, and I hate her.
Amber and Drea were much better at playing the supportive best friends in this book. Drea still had quite a bit of Chad problems going on. Despite her personal problems Drea was really supportive of Stacey and tried her best to help in whatever way she could. Even if that meant hanging out with Clara, after she saw Chad and Clara kissing. I give the girl some credit. The only thing I really have to complain about when it comes to Amber is that the girl is seriously immature. Other than this one detail, Amber’s a great friend to Stacey. She’s a little flighty, but completely supportive in anyway that she can be.
I’ve been thinking about what to say regarding Jacob since I reached the halfway point of this book. I absolutely loved Jacob as a character, but I didn’t care so much for his actions through most of this book. He was secretive and closed off. Stacey knows something is going on and he just won’t let her help. I think that’s what upsets me most, things could have ended so differently is Jacob had just let Stacey try to help. Ugh. I loved him and I know he was just doing what he thought was best, even if he was wrong.
So, this book was better than the two previous. If you read either of those reviews you already know what kind of readers I’d suggest this to. Anyone that likes action, mystery, suspense, with a little bit of drama and romance.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.

White is for Magic – Laurie Faria Stolarz

Summary:
One year later. It’s happening again. Seventeen year old Stacey Brown is having nightmares-creepy dreams haunted by the ghosts of people who have been brutally murdered.
It’s her senior year at boarding school, and what Stacey really should be focusing on are her classes and getting into college-not to mention the rocky path her love life has been taking lately.
But even if she could ignore the dreams, Stacey can’t ignore the strange letters that she’s been receiving. No return address, no signature-and the same cryptic messages she’s been hearing in her nightmares.
What’s worse is that she’s not the only one having weird dreams. Jacob, a transfer student, claims that he’s been having nightly premonitions of Stacey’s death for months, dreams so realistic that he transferred schools to find her and stop the killer. It doesn’t help that she’s starting to have feeling for him even though she already has a boyfriend. But can she trust Jacob? Or will both their darkest dreams come true?

Review:
Okay, so I absolutely liked White is for Magic better than the first in the series. There was a bit I didn’t like about this book, but I enjoyed it more than the previous. It starts off at the beginning of the next school year, which worked well for how this story line goes. The book was descriptive and written well enough. But this series is still totally directed to younger young adult readers.
So basically, Stacey’s life is repeating itself. She’s having nightmares again, except this time she’s dreaming of her own death. Can we just take a minute to talk about this? Imagine waking up in the middle of the night, every night, after dreaming all about your own death. That would be something very difficult for me to handle. When I first started reading this book I thought to myself, Stacey really should trust her friends more. She should try to let them help and support her. After I finished, I no longer stand by that statement. Stacey tries to put more trust in her friends and doesn’t get the support she deserves. Regardless of what she’s lacking, Stacey handles herself and everything she’s dealing with surprisingly well throughout White is for Magic. She figures out, with minimal help from around her, exactly what is about to happen to her. She even puts herself exactly where she knows she shouldn’t be to help Drea. One of the biggest supports Stacey had was her mother, but not until later in the book. Stacey and her mother have never really had a close relationship because her mom wouldn’t acknowledge her nightmares. Stacey kind of resented her mom for not supporting her in this aspect of her life. The pair really bond and reconnect in this book when her mom steps up to the plate and tries to do everything she can for Stacey. I kind of adored her mom after they reconnected. There’s one thing i would like to mention about Stacey. No matter what she’s dealing with at the time, she does still try really hard to give her school work the attention it needs. The second book in this series definitely made me like Stacey a bit more.
Her friends, however, I think I like them less in this story. Amber isn’t that bad in White is for Magic. My feelings are almost the same. She’s a ditzy, unfocused, high school girl who doesn’t know what she wants. She gives Stacey the most support out of all of the others, so I do give her credit for this. Then there’s Drea, who I think has become my least favorite character. Through the entire book it’s obvious that she’s being shady about something. And shady pisses me off. I still think she’s a spoiled brat. She only thinks of herself. In the first book Drea is put in danger, and Stacey is the one to figure everything out and save her. Too many times for me to be able to overlook it, Drea uses what she went through last year to avoid helping her very afraid best friend. I would have understood it at first, and Drea does help more toward the end of the book. I just wasn’t a huge fan of Drea. The last friend is Chad, who in this book is Stacey’s boyfriend. He’s not a very good one if you ask me and since this is my review, you are asking me. Chad never took anything that had to with Stacey’s nightmares seriously. He always tried to explain them away with some other excuse. Honestly, I think he just didn’t want to deal with them. Chad and Stacey fought through pretty much the entire book. It was very obvious they weren’t meant to be together.
Which brings me to my favorite character in this book, Jacob. He wasn’t introduced until about half way through the book, which is when I really got sucked in. My first impression of Jacob was a few different things. Stacey finds him in the woods doing a spell. My immediate thought was that Jacob and Stacey have to love each other forever. My second thought was, but what if he’s the bad guy? I was very torn about my feelings toward Jacob for most of the book. I always WANTED to like him, but I was still suspicious, mirroring Stacey’s feelings. I’m very excited to read more about Jacob in the next book of this series.
So I guess it was really just some of the characters I didn’t like about this book. I mean, the story line was written well enough, but I didn’t freak out as much as I usually do. White is for Magic kept me interested, constantly wondering what was going on or going to happen next. I honestly think Stolarz could have kept this a two book series, and am actually very glad she didn’t because I can’t wait to start the next book as soon as I’m done with this review. Which I guess is now. So, young adult book lovers, paranormal, action, mystery readers would all totally love this series so far.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.