Nicola's Reviews > The Face on the Milk Carton

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
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Jul 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-books, challenge-books
Read on July 07, 2012

After picking up Book 2 of this series I HAD to reread this. I recall being profoundly affected by this book, and experienced very similar results again this time, many years later.
I am sure that a lot of teens think/wish that they belong wo another family at some time or another -- one with a mom they can bond with more easily, with a dad who understands them and does not embarass them, one with terrific, easygoing siblings. These fantasies are often carried out when in trouble or fighting with a family member, however they are short-lived and forgotten. Not so for Janie, whose entire world changes when she picks up her friends' milk carton one day at lunch.
This leads to an exploration of both herself and her family, and everything that she has ever known. Janie realizes how much she truly loves her parents and her friends. She easily believes what they say, because that is what her heart wants to believe. Her head, and her ever growing memories, however do not allow for that.
Cooney has created and extremely strong and likable heroine, who is supported by fantastic characters. She has set her story in "everyday" time, an environment that is easily recognized, understood, and easy to relate to.
Janie struggles with her identity, her sense of belonging, her love for those around her, and her strong sense of doing what is right. While she tries to dismiss the face on the milk carton she knows that she cannot, whatever the results may be.
Cooney takes you along on this struggle, providing some emotional relief through interactions with friends and normal teenage issues. She addresses an incredibly difficult concept, and puts human emotions into it. Fantastic job! I will definitely seek out the remaing books in this series - and will keep this on my shelf for years to come. I have recommended it to many students in the past, and will continue to do so.
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