Jane was kidnapped and raised in Hawkins National Laboratory, where she was experimented under the alias of Eleven for her inherited psychokinetic abilities. After escaping the lab, she was found by Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, and Dustin Henderson. Upon discovering her abilities, Mike believed that she could help find Will Byers, their missing friend. During their time together, she and Mike formed a strong bond and quickly grew to like each other. It was ultimately revealed that, in a lab experiment, she made contact with a creature from another dimension, accidentally opening an inter-dimensional gateway. In an attempt to protect her friends, Eleven eventually faced and destroyed this monster in a showdown at Hawkins Middle School, teleporting her to the Upside Down. She escaped from there to the real world, and took homage in the woods, eventually she was found by Jim Hopper, who secretly lived together like a father and daughter in Hopper's family cabin.
After some time, she grew impatient from being separated from her friends, so she went on a journey by herself, discovering her past in the process. Realizing that she could not leave her friends behind, she returned to Hawkins, reuniting with them, to help defeat yet another extra-dimensional threat. Eleven was then officially taken in by Hopper as his adopted daughter. Later, she attended the Snow Ball dance with Mike, who invited her the previous year.