Monday, April 18, 2011

The Face on the Milk Carton (Book)

Author: Caroline B. Cooney. Release date: 1990. Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780385323284.

The Face on the Milk Carton.jpgPlot summary: Fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson lives a normal life with her loving parents in Connecticut. Her life changes forever, however, when she spots a missing child photo on the back of a friend’s milk carton and recognizes the girl: it is Janie herself. The carton identifies the girl as Jennie Spring, who was kidnapped in a shopping center parking lot twelve years earlier. Janie has a brief memory of the day she was kidnapped, but isn’t sure what it means. Determined to find out more, Janie goes through the attic of her parents’ house and discovers old school papers by someone named “Hannah.” Angry, Janie confronts her parents, who reveal that she is, in fact, their granddaughter. Hannah is the name of their actual daughter, who joined a dangerous cult and left them with Janie. Still, Janie isn’t convinced. Are her parents telling her the truth, or is there more to the story?
Review: This gripping mystery story will entertain even the most reluctant of tween readers with its twists and turns. Almost every young person has wondered at some point if they are adopted, and the story of Janie Johnson, who discovers that she was kidnapped after she spots her face on a milk carton by chance, is the embodiment of that common question. Janie makes for a likable heroine, and faces her situation bravely. She clearly loves her adoptive parents, but longs to discover the truth without hurting them. Her boyfriend, Reeve, is also likable and supportive. The end of the novel leaves the reader with a cliffhanger that will undoubtedly prompt them to pick up the rest of Cooney’s series.

Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Reading level: Grades 6-9

Similar titles: Other titles in the Janie Johnson series by Caroline B. Cooney.
Personal thoughts: This was one of my favorite books as a tween and I remember thinking how easy it was to read even then. As an adult, I can still see why I found it so enjoyable. Cooney has a very natural way of writing that engages the reader and gets them involved in the mystery of Janie Johnson’s kidnapping. I would highly recommend this entire series for reluctant readers.

Themes: Kidnapping, adoption, mystery.
Awards/Reviews: Positive reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.

Series Information: First book in Janie Johnson series by Caroline B. Cooney, titles: The Face on the Milk Carton (1990), Whatever Happened to Janie? (1993), The Voice on the Radio (1996), What Janie Found (2000).
Character information:

Janie Johnson – Fifteen-year-old high school student who discovers that she is Jennie Spring after seeing her face on the back of a milk carton. She wants to find out the truth about her kidnapping twelve years ago.

Reeve – Janie’s boyfriend. He helps Janie uncover the truth about her kidnapping.

Mr. Johnson – Janie’s adoptive father. He believes Janie is his granddaughter.

Mrs. Johnson – Janie’s adoptive mother. She also believes Janie is her granddaughter.
Annotation: Fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson’s life changes forever when she sees the face of a young girl who was kidnapped twelve years earlier and realizes that she is the girl in the picture. Can Janie uncover the truth about her kidnapping?

No comments:

Post a Comment