The climax occurs when Janie, who is shocked to see her own childhood picture on a milk carton, begins to recall events of her former life. Eventually, "Janie confronts her parents and learns that she was left with them by their daughter Hannah. The Johnsons believe Hannah, who tells them Janie is their granddaughter, and that both Hannah and Janie are being pursued by a religious cult that Hannah joined when she ran away from home. When Hannah deserts the Johnsons and Janie, they take their granddaughter and flee their former life—moving to Connecticut, changing their last name from Javenson to Johnson— to avoid being discovered by the cult."
There is no complete resolution to Cooney's novel. Janie has to learn to live with new definitions of family, and what makes a family strong. Her boyfriend, Reeve, helps her to do this but they both struggle with her emotional upheaval.