The face on the milk carton looks like an ordinary little girl: hair in tight pigtails, a dress with a narrow white collar, a three-year-old who was kidnapped more than twelve years ago from a shopping mall in New Jersey.
As fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson stares at the milk carton, she feels overcome with shock. She knows that little girl is she. But how could it be true?
Janie can't believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, until she begins to piece together clues that don't make sense. Why are there no pictures of Janie before she was four? Her parents have always said they didn't have a camera. Now that explanation sounds feeble. Something is terribly wrong, and Janie is afraid to find out what happened more than twelve years ago.
In this gripping page-turner, the reader will unravel—as Janie does—the twisted events that changed the lives of two families forever.
Caroline Cooney knew in sixth grade that she wanted to be a writer when "the best teacher I ever had in my life" made writing her main focus. "He used to rip off covers from The New Yorker and pass them around and make us write a short story on whichever cover we got. I started writing then and never stopped!" When her children were young, Caroline started writing books for young people -- with remarkable results. She began to sell stories to Seventeen magazine and soon after began writing books. Suspense novels are her favorites to read and write. "In a suspense novel, you can count on action." To keep her stories realistic, Caroline visits many schools outside of her area, learning more about teenagers all the time. She often organizes what she calls a "plotting game," in which students work together to create plots for stories. Caroline lives in Westbrook, Connecticut and when she's not writing she volunteers at a hospital, plays piano for the school musicals and daydreams! - Scholastic.com
listen. if you loved this book when you were in middle school, it sure as hell wasn't because you thought the literary style was articulate and composed. it was because you were in middle school, and therefore an angsty teen who wished you too could discover your lame parents weren't actually related to you by blood. everybody wants to find out they've been kidnapped when they're that age! it's WAY cooler than just being born into suburbia and would probably boost your status in the social food chain at least a couple points. or at least get you out of gym class.
as i remember it, things got pretty melodramatic in this book, which is not to say that ms. cooney didn't explore the complications of such a traumatic teenage discovery in a way i couldn't understand at that age. au contrair. i remember being very drawn in, and like, um, TOTALLY loving it. by the time there was a cute boy and a radio show (third book? thirtieth book? there were a LOT) i was daydreaming about seeing my face on the walmart "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD" board. (sorry mom. i do love you, srsly.)
so why all the critical reviews, guys? it's not war and peace, i'll give you that. personally, i'm just glad that i was reading this and not the petty whoreish trash they have out for young ladies these days (ie. "gossip girl"? "the clique"? "the A-List series"? "we all wear the same pants"? "glitter and STDs"? etc etc.)
so i had to read this for the "banned books" portion of my teen r/a class, and i am convinced that this wasn't banned by parents or terrible librarians, but by the students themselves who were like, "noooooo, don't make us read this!! it is soooo ba-zoring!!!"
because it is. truly.
this could have been a five page book. "oh shit, i was kidnapped when i was three?? let me ask my 'parents,' and if they are not forthcoming with the info, then i will go to the library and do some research."
end of tale.
but nooooooo...she backed off every time it could have gotten interesting. she was playing hard-to-get with this narrative.
"oh, i am here driving by the house of the family from which i was stoled. no, no - drive by real fast while i cover my face...i will reconsider this in the next chapter - and stop trying to have sex with me - jeez"
"ooh, i have found clues...but i will not think about these clues for three more chapters while i freak out about having been kidnapped and why are you on top of me again?? - dude!"
"ooh microfilm!! i am now dating my story in the past, but look - a news article about me, but I WON'T READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE BECAUSE THEN I WOULD MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE AS A CHARACTER"
and why was such a big deal made of her lactose intolerance and her avoidance of milk and ice cream at the beginning of this book, but her parents are always feeding her pizza? it's all dairy, bitches!!
i love this lady because she gave me the christina trilogy, but this book was barf.
Excellent concept, not-so-excellent execution. The plot idea is absolutely thrilling - suddenly realising that your parents are actually not your parents, but that you've been kidnapped, not knowing how to react, who to turn to or who to trust.
Unfortunately Caroline Cooney's didn't quite have the skills to pull it off, and therefore the writing seemed occasionally choppy and the emotions unrealistic.
Still, the story itself was really interesting, so I definitely want to read the rest of the series.
Why I love it: I was shocked to see that one of my favorite books from the 1990’s is a banned book. I guess with the subject matter, people don’t want kids reading this. Listen, I don’t want eight-year-olds reading this either. It’s geared for teens and sheds light on a very real subject matter: child abduction. Back in the late 1980’s, there was a lot of child kidnappings going on. So much so, the government came up with putting missing children’s pictures on milk cartons as a way to catch the kidnappers and bring the children home. This story is based on a real kidnapping. Filled with emotions and capturing what happens to the kids who got abducted, this is a great book. Again, this is shedding light on something American parents had to deal with and important for teens to read about.
Toward the end of the book Janie has the thought that this situation is going to go on forever. I'm with you, Janie. This book went on foreverrrrrrrrr.
I listened to the book on CD based on a referral from a 5th grader during my school visits, who told me this was an awesome book. And I'm glad he liked it.
For me, it was excruciating.
She loves her family, she hates her family, she loves her family. She's a wretched wretched girl because she allowed someone to buy her from her family with a sundae - I can't tell you how many times that was mentioned. She's not going to contact her birth parents, she'll drive to NJ to see their house, she's not going to contact them, she writes up a letter to them, she's not going to contact them, she puts the letter in an addressed envelope. Oopsy, she loses the envelope! She's not going to think about them, she thinks about them constantly, everything is okay mom and dad, my life is ruined. Blah blah blah blah blah. I was ready to slap Janie in the face.
And how does the book end? SPOILER! It ends with her mother dialing the number of her birth parents in NJ. I don't recall hearing that she was looking in a phone book or staring at a slip of paper with their number on it so how does she have their number memorized? Maybe I was fading in and out of consciousness at that point. Then she makes Janie talk to them - 'Hi, I'm your daughter.' I sure hope her mom dialed the right number!
I found this book to be extremely annoying. Janie's head was such a mess, but it wasn't an interesting mess, it was a let's-repeat-the-same-thought-over-and-over mess. And the back and forthing of her moods was about to give me whiplash. And then everyone is crying all the time. The similes were awful. I was thankful to get out of the first few chapters where the word milk was mentioned a hundred times.
And these kids were supposed to be high school kids? If she hadn't been making out with the boy next door I would have thought they were middle school kids because none of them seemed very mature. (Not that middle school kids aren't mature - I love you, my program teens!)
Product Description No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar--a three-year-old who had been kidnapped twelve years before from a shopping mall in New Jersey--she felt overcome with shock. She recognized that little girl--it was she. How could it possibly be true?
Janie can't believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, but as she begins to piece things together, nothing makes sense. Something is terribly wrong. Are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson really Janie's parents? And if not, who is Janie Johnson, and what really happened?
Another young adult (younger even) read. Janie spots a missing child ad on a milk carton. It is her. How can this be so. Janie is in high school when she is meant to be enjoying life and finding her way, having her first boyfriend and having fun with girlfriends and sleep overs. Not all is as it seems and Janie delves into the mystery of her life. Things do fall into place easily in this short novel. Her neighbour and boyfriend Reeve helps her piece things together. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I was a little old for this one, funny though as I borrowed it through my work university library. It is a diverse collection! Good for young readers.
My favorite book as a little girl! I always thought it would be scary to see my own picture on a milk carton and wonder if I'd been kidnapped. My daughter checked it out to read and I can't wait to see what she thinks of it!
This book was about Janie Johnson, a high schooler who had lactose intolerance, serious red hair, secret admirers. Every once in awhile, the factory of milk cartons put up an image of children who gets kidnapped. And when Janie reaches out to try her friend's milk, the image on the milk carton was of her.
I like this book of its contrast, how while Janie was trying to figure out what happened to her, romance and true love also struck her. And sometimes she can't have both.
I can somewhat relate to Janie because sometimes when I concentrate so hard on something and work so hard on something, my head hurts and burns and I really need someone there for me, to understand me.
Imagine being a happy 15 year old who has loving, understanding parents (which is rare, right? Come on, all 15 year-olds have nagging parents who don’t understand sh*t about being kids and force the poor souls to do inhumane stuff like cleaning their own rooms, making their beds, lowering the music volume, ah, pity!) and one fine day, you get to see a missing children news with your face smiling back at you, only to realise that your loving parents are not your parents at all, and that you were kidnapped from your real parents at a very young age. Darn! What would you do?
The story follows Janie Johnson on an emotional and angsty ride of finding out the truth behind her alleged kidnapping while realising most of her life was based on a lie. I found the concept quite intriguing, though not quite executed well. But that’s okay considering it was a super-short read!
I was in the sixth grade. We were having one of those Scholastic book orders that made reading so exciting. This book caught my attention. What could be more captivating than a book about a kid finding out they're kidnapped?!! I begged my mom to order it and she did. Shortly thereafter, the book was in my hands, and suddenly I was ashamed. I was a boy on the verge of junior high school. I watched sports, liked cars and video games. I was too cool for a book with a pig-tailed girl on the cover.
Some time later that year, this kid named Joey mentioned the book. He was cool. He asked if I'd read it. Was this a trap? “I have a copy—but only because my mom wanted to read it,” I said. He said he'd read the book and it was awesome, that I should definitely read it. Again, part of me wanted to read The Face on the Milk Carton, but I really didn't have time for it. I was going to get a Z shaved on the side of my head, work for Ferrari, and sing backup for Bobby Brown: I was way too cool for books.
I wish I'd listened to Joey. I probably would've liked this book more as a twelve year old than as a thirty-five year old. That being said, I was surprised by how much I did enjoy the novel as an adult. No, it's not some great work of literature. But what it is is captivating. I was enthralled by what Janie would do. I was pulled in, reading chapter after chapter in a single sitting. Was I captivated enough to read the rest of the books in the series? No. Nevertheless, The Face on the Milk Carton was a wonderful ride of adolescent “what ifs.”
One thing that surprised me about this novel was the amount of sex. Had I read it back in grade school as was the original plan, I probably would've been ashamed and confused by what I'd read. In my opinion, The Face on the Milk Carton is more a young adult novel than a child's story. Damn Scholastic for trying to corrupt my youth!
And what's up with Janie's lactose intolerance? It's constantly being mentioned. Girl cannot consume dairy without dire consequence. Apt condition to have given the title? Perhaps. But what kind of pizza is this girl eating? Does heated cheese somehow not qualify as dairy? How does the writer and the editors miss this contradiction?
Despite its flaws in logic and storytelling, The Face on the Milk Carton was a great adventure. I didn't learn anything, I wasn't moved by the condition of these characters, but I was entertained. And if that is the point of this book, then the author succeeded. Thanks, Joey. It took over twenty years, but you finally convinced me.
Rather contrived plot,it struck me as being the literary equivalent of a paint-by-numbers picture. It was almost as though the author sketched an outline and then proceeded to fill in the blanks (I know English teachers always harp about pre-writing with an outline but who really does that?)Besides, milk cartons haven't featured photographs of missing children for years so it is unlikely the current teen audience would grasp the reference.
I am pretty sure that I read this years ago, and that it was just so much better then! It was published in 1996, so it has had lots of time to be read by anyone interested. I think that everyone wonders what they would do if they found out they were kidnapped. RIght? Isn't that what you worry about at night?
Anyway, Janie was stolen by the daughter of her "grandparents". They were told she was their blood and then the crazy daughter left. Now Janie has seen her face on a milk carton for missing children. I think that her reaction borders on the implausible.
The book rather drags on and on with lots of side trails instead of dealing with the issue at hand. It wasn't my favorite.
Janie is lactose intolerant. She wasn't even supposed to be drinking that milk in the first place. But when she turns the carton over and sees the photo of a missing child printed on the side, it's a photo she recognizes. It's her. But her parents are so kind and generous, they can't possibly be kidnappers. This has to be a misunderstanding. But why is Janie suddenly having memories of another life with another family?
This gripping story will keep hold of your attention right through to the end. First in a series. --Beth M.
When Janie sits down to eat, she offhandedly notices the "missing children" photo on her milk carton. No one ever really pays attention to those photos, but this time Janie is startled to see her own picture there.....
Although the plot made me raise my eyebrows - she sees a picture of her as a little kid on the milk carton as a "kidnapped" kid - I thought the story and the girl were just annoying.
I didn't understand Janie at all. She was whining and annoying - I have a teenager and she's got such a better head on her shoulders than this girl.
I also didn't understand the characters - Janie and Reeve didn't seem to really like each other and suddenly they do and then suddenly he's yelling at her in the car. Why is he yelling?? I just didn't understand their emotions and why they would suddenly lose it over something or start crying - which makes me think something was missing in the writing.
I thought it was a little convenient, too, the idea of how her kidnapping "might" have happened. And who, their sophmore year, still calls their parents "mommy" and "daddy". That's what I mean, Janie just didn't seem consistent or real, and neither did Reeve - the two main characters.
This book was by far the best book I've ever read but has some adult content. Even though it does it is a great book. It's about a girl named Janie (Jennie) who sees her face from twelve years ago on the back of a milk carton saying she has been kidnapped. The whole book is about her finding out if her "parents" had actually kidnapped her and her finding her real family. I am reading the second book out of four now and so far it is amazing as well.
I read the book, The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. It was published in 1990 by Dell Books for Young Readers. Cooney is the author of many other books that include Driver’s Ed and the sequel to Face on the Milk Carton, Whatever Happened to Janie? Now, I admit I’ve only read this one book by Cooney, but based on this first experience there’s no way that I would ever read any of her other novels. Frankly, I’m not even sure why a publisher would agree to print this book. Perhaps the more important question is why the school system feels like this is a book that children would benefit from reading. In my opinion this is a shallow and poorly written book. The book is about a girl named Janie Johnson, a sophomore in high school that sees her face on a milk carton, and realizes that she’s been kidnapped. This is the first problem that I have with the book. Why is it that a kidnapping that occurred over twelve years ago is still being published on these milk cartons? Secondly, I find it very unlikely that this girl would be able to recognize herself after all of these years. After she sees this picture, she sets out trying to find out about her past and where she came from. Along with her on this journey is her neighbor, Reeve, a senior going to the same high school as her. Somehow this boy finds a way to put up with Janie’s constant nagging and crying about trying to find her real parents, which is essentially all that happens in the middle hundred pages of the book. This is the worst part of the book for me, because every two pages you have to read about her “daymares” which really don’t seem all that scary because they’re just flashbacks of her eating ice cream. Sounds like a pretty nice time to me, but for some reason for her that triggers some kind of panic attack and she freaks out. Despite all of her problems though, for some reason Reeve falls in love with her. These two love birds share a romantic kiss in a pile of leaves. “The kiss was long. And serious. Serious like my hair...” (47), this is my favorite quote from the book for its comical effect. I don’t want to spoil the book, but I’m just trying to spare any future readers of this book the pain of reading this book all the way through to the end. She eventually finds her real parents, and her parents that she’s had didn’t actually kidnap her. It was her parents’ crazy daughter that was a part of some cult that kidnapped her. So eventually Janie calls her real parents, and I kid you not this is how the book ends, “‘Hi. It’s...your daughter. Me. Jennie.’” (184). This is probably the most disappointing ending I’ve ever read. Nothing actually ever gets answered in the end. For all we know this isn’t even really her parents she’s talking to. After all this time that the reader’s tolerated Janie’s incessant whining about her parents we don’t even get to know whether she actually meets them. I guess it’s appropriate though, a disappointing ending to a disappointing book. If you couldn’t already tell based on what I’ve already said about this book, I woulnd’t recommend this book to anyone. It’s classified as a mystery novel, but there’s hardly any mystery in it at all. A mystery is supposed to make you think and wonder what’s going to happen. This book doesn’t trigger any of these responses in the reader. That’s what makes it such a boring book in my opinion. The book is also way too shallow, and the plot is way too simple and predictable. In my opinion books are much more interesting when the information is much more than what you’re actually reading. In this book however, what you read is what you get, and when what you’re reading isn’t good you’re not going to enjoy it at all. These are just a few of the many issues that I have with the book. Once again I would highly suggest avoiding this book at all costs.
At first, I thought this book was just going to be about a girl, who got kidnapped, and some detectives went and tracked down clues to find her. It made me think this book was no different than any other normal mystery book but I was terribly wrong. This book was a lot more than just a mystery!
This book is basically about a girl named Janie and she lives her life as an average teenage girl. One day, she sees a picture of her younger self on a milk carton. It says she was missing. The picture was her a few years ago, but she realized she’s all fine and okay right now. That led Janie to question her past, the life she is currently living and even if her current parents are her biological parents.
This is truly a thrilling novel. It is shocking and once you grab hold of it, you refuse to let go. This book is part of a series and this is the first one. I recommend this book to people who basically just enjoy reading good books.
This is the novel I've been teaching my high intermediate learners of English as a second language for the past eight weeks. I've never read this author before, and I probably won't read anything by her again if given the choice.
I had a hard time relating to the main character/narrator in any way, but the book contains lots of new vocabulary for the students. They were unhappy that there were no pictures.
Although I really didn't enjoy reading this, I did kind of like the way it ended. I feel like Janie finally started to act like a person at the end.
In the novel The Face On The Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney is about how a girl named Janie was stolen when she was three, but she never knew. Until one day, she sees a milk carton that has a girls face and says that she is missing. She realized that the little girl in the carton was her.She soon has thoughts about if her parents are really her parents or the kidnappers.She soon discovers many things that she wished she had never known.She found out that her parents had a daughter and she ran away to New Jersey.So the parents went to New Jersey and got her daughter who was really Janie.Because of all that confusion Janie skipped school with her boyfriend named Reeve. They both deiced to go to New Jersey because thats where her real parents live, and find information about her real parent. Janie found out that she has three brothers. They both seen enough and soon came back to Janie's house and her parent that were worried sick because they were afraid that Janie might run away as their daughter had once done.So Janie decides to tell her parents about the ride to New Jersey.Later on Janie's parents decide that Janie should call her real parents and tell the the truth of what had really happen.At the end Janie's mom call to New Jersey and once a women picked up the phone, Janie said,"Hi. It's... your daughter.Me.Janie."
This book is awesome because it tells a story that connects to the real world.i recommend this book to any one because it's a wonderful book to read and interesting.
I was actually looking forward to this book because of the premise. A seemingly normal life is completely overturned when the MC finds herself on a milk carton that shows pictures of kidnapped children.
But reality was a slap in the face.
I seriously was bothered by the amount of time it took for her to confront her parents about the milk carton thing. When she finally does I was really disappointed in the MC. I was incredibly surprised that this was on the summer reading list though, I seriously don't think the teachers have ever read it. At one point in the novel, the MC and her "boyfriend" go to New Jersey because . The characters are afraid of what their parents will think of the whole, I skipped school with a high schooler of the other gender thing. Luckily for an innocent child, the author decided against it. I'm seriously disappointed that a book like this made it to the summer reading list. After a point, the book just got boring for me, and I searched up the plot on wikipedia. I'm sorry, no I didn't actually finish the entire book.
Trigger warnings: kidnapping (in the past), mentions of cults.
So this was published in 1990 and, uh, IT SHOWS. This story feels so indescribably 80s. None of the teenage characters talk like teenagers. They barely even talk like people, to be honest. There's a good two pages of the story at one point where they have a roll of tape and they're debating what prank to play with it, and it's all stuff like "tape the chairs to the desks in a classroom", which is honestly the kind of prank that 9 year old boys would play rather than a group of 16 year olds, even 30 years ago.
For a book that's less than 200 pages long and that's ostensibly about a girl realising that she was kidnapped as a child and that her parents aren't her parents, it takes a long-ass time to actually get around to that part of the story. Also, if I had to read about Janie flicking her hair in everyone's faces one more time I was going to reach into the freaking book to cut it off.
Also, the fact that when they go to the library, they have to use both a card catalogue AND microfilm made me lol and thank God for the internet.
I did not expect the book to be like this. I was really disappointed in this book. The book was very boring and I felt like there was way too much romance and sex talk rather than an actual mystery about Janie's "kidnapping."
I was reading this last night and by Chapter 2, I was thinking, "I don't care what anybody says. Caroline B. Cooney is a great author. Period. Full stop. Not just, 'Great for young adult,' but just great." Then I get on here and everybody is slamming this book and Caroline B. Cooney. People are crazy.
One, Cooney's writing style, similes and metaphors, being in Janie's head while she's spiraling into Crazytown--all great. Two, anybody saying that Janie drives them crazy with how long she grapples with this before approaching her parents, etc., I don't think are fully imagining the situation. Third, anybody saying Janie and her friends are very immature, I don't think remember high school/don't hang out with teenagers at all/or to give these people some credit, maybe they were way more mature than me and my friends. You guys: This is accurate.
I've loved this book for a long time and I've read it many times. It's still perfection.
This was so good that as soon as I finished reading this one, I ordered all the rest in the series! It's about a 15 yr old girl named Janie Johnson who while she was drinking a carton of milk at lunch stopped when she saw the missing child picture on it. It was her. This book follows her struggle as she tries to figure out what to do. I highly recommend this book! So good!