Face on the Milk Carton (Cooney)

Book Reviews
A milk carton portrait causes a 15-year-old girl to question her true identity; citing the novel's "strong characterizations and suspenseful, impeccably paced action,'' PW added, "The roller-coaster ride Jane experiences with her emotions is both absorbing and convincing.'' Ages 12-up.
Publishers Weekly

(Grades 7-10) The message on the milk carton reads, "Have you seen this child?"' Three-year-old Jennie Spring was kidnapped 12 years earlier, but Janie Johnson, looking at the photo, suddenly knows that she is that child. Fragments of memory and evidence accumulate, and when she demands to know about her early childhood years, her parents confess what they believe to be true, that she is really their grandchild, the child of their long-missing daughter who had joined a cult. Janie wants to accept this, but she cannot forget Jennie's family and their loss. Finally, almost against her will, she seeks help and confides in her parents. Her mother insists that she call the Spring family, and the book ends as she calls them. Many young people fantasize about having been adopted or even kidnapped, but the decisions Janie must face are painful and complex, and she experiences denial, anger, and guilt while sorting her way toward a solution. Janie's boyfriend—sensible, funny, with problems of his own--is an excellent foil for her intensity. Their romance is natural and believable. Cooney again demonstrates an excellent ear for dialogue and a gift for protraying responsible middle-class teen-agers trying to come to terms with very real concerns. —Tatiana Castleton, Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library, CA
School Library Journal

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