The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney is one of a handful of books that I have read at least 10 times. I first read it in late middle or early high school and I enjoy it just as much now as I did then. In fact, I’m overdo for a re-read of this wonderful book and the entire series. The story, while not completely unique, is well executed and memorable – although I’m biased after reading it so many times.
Synopsis The Face on the Milk Carton
“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.”Goodreads
What I Love
I loved the story and the characters. I relate less and less to Janie the older I get, but when I first read it, I totally felt like I could be her friend. The story was also super interesting, despite not being particularly original. There was a similar concept in a TV show I watched years later. But it was still something I really enjoyed. The reviews on Goodreads are very mixed with people raving about loving it when they were young, like me and others completely eviscerating it.
What I Didn’t Love
As I already said, I’m biased. I loved this book and no negative comments will change my mind. But people complained that it wasn’t well executed. They also complained that the character was indecisive, annoying, etc. – maybe they forgot what it’s like being a teenager? I was like this in my daily life even sans kidnapping. Also, I feel like the fact that the book got banned from libraries that got people excited about it but then they were disappointed that it wasn’t scandalous or inappropriate in any way.
If you read this as an adult, I’m not sure you’ll love it. But reading this when you are the protagonist’s age is awesome, I know because I did. Also, it is only banned because it is about kidnapping, a serious topic but the book doesn’t scare children into hiding to avoid kidnapping. Anyway, I’m currently shopping for a nice set and if you like The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney, I recommend you read the entire series.
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