Janey's Girl


Gayle Friesen

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Do you ever feel like you just can't understand your parents? Fourteen-year-old Claire does. Even though she lived with her mother, Janey, all her life, she just can't understand why Janey acts the way she does. Janey is a driven, perfectionist woman, and she wants Claire to be that way, too. She wants Claire to practice the piano for hours every day and won't give her permission to go out with her friends. Janey is also very secretive about her own life. When her father died, she didn't even go to his funeral. Claire never got to meet her grandfather or even her own father.

That's why Claire is excited when Janey decides that they will go and visit Claire's grandmother in Smallwood, British Columbia for a month during the summer. At first Claire doesn't like how everyone in the small town refers to her as "Janey's girl." But then she decides she likes the slow pace and all the animals on the farm. She meets Jamie, a cute little boy who likes to play games about knights and dragons. There's also Jack, a good-looking boy her age who is definitely interested in her. And is it possible she might be able to find out more about her father while she's staying in Smallwood? To find out, read Janey's Girl by Gayle Friesen.

Discussion questions

  1. What has Claire's mom told her about Claire's father? Would you be satisfied with that amount of information?How are Claire and her mother alike? How are they different?
  2. What did you like about the romance between Claire and Jack?
  3. How does Claire first meet her father? How does she feel after realizing who she is?
  4. Should Claire forgive her father? Do you accept his explanation for not being present in his life?
  5. What is Claire's mother most scared of?
  6. If you were in Claire's position, with the ability to help your sibling with a bone marrow transplant, would you do it? Why or why not?
  7. How does Claire change as a person over the summer?
  8. In the end, how did Claire's grandfather express his love for her? Was it enough?

If you liked this book, try

  • Dive by Adele Griffin
  • Don't Think Twice by Ruth Pennebaker
  • Harley, Like a Person by Bat Bauer
  • Heaven by Angela Johnson
  • The Snake-Stone by Berlie Doherty


Try some of the treats that Claire's grandmother enjoys such as brewed tea and biscuits.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.