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Whatever Happened to Janie? Turtleback – March, 1995

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Turtleback, March, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers left on the edge of their seats at the conclusion of The Face on the Milk Carton will race to get their hands on this equally gripping sequel. Janie is an illegally adopted child who discovered the existence of her natural parents 12 years after her kidnapping. As this phase of the saga begins, Janie Johnson (nee Jennie Spring) has contacted her real mother and father, who have lost no time in reclaiming her. Trying to do the right thing, the 15-year-old agrees to leave her much-loved adoptive parents' home in a small Connecticut town and move to the Springs' crowded New Jersey split-level. The Springs' expectations prove to be too great for homesick Janie, who cannot stop thinking about the pain her adoptive parents are suffering and feels guilty whenever she begings to be the slightest bit happy in her new household. Janie's struggle to sort out who she is and where she belongs turns out to be profoundly upsetting not only for herself, but also for both sets of parents and her natural older sister and three brothers. Cooney builds a strong case for the rights of adoptive parents while painting a sympathetic portrait of birth parents who have given up a child, unwillingly or otherwise. The power and nature of love is wrenchingly illustrated throughout this provocative novel, which expresses multiple points of view with remarkable understanding. However strange the events of this book, the emotions of its characters remain excruciatingly real. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-- Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton (Bantam, 1990) involved a 15-year-old girl who discovers she had been kidnapped when she was 3. Those left hanging by the ambiguous ending to that story will want to read this sequel in which Janie goes to live with her biological parents and four siblings. Although all of the family members are eager to include her, she's determined to remain emotionally aloof. Finally, Janie asserts her desire to return to her adopted family, and her biological parents love her enough to let her go. The strength of this book is that all of the parties are easy to empathize with. They are well-rounded characters with quirks and annoying qualities, yet all have compassion for "the other guy," even while feeling their own pain. The suspense centers around the question of which family needs Janie more and which she will choose. There is no clear answer to her dilemma since both love her and have suffered through no fault of their own. While Janie ultimately puts her own feelings first by choosing the family that is "real" to her, the stage is set for future changes of heart and perhaps another sequel. Meanwhile, this book won't gather dust on the shelf. --Jacqueline Rose, Southeast Regional Library, NC
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Turtleback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Demco Media (March 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606071369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606071369
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,950,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Whatever Happened to Janie" re-introduces the reader to 15 year old Janie Johnson whose life as the privileged, only child of a well-to-do Connecticut couple was shattered in the book "The Face on the Milk Carton." She discovered that the Johnson's were not her real parents, and that she had been kidnapped from her real family by the Johnson's real daughter, Hannah. Janie learned about why the Johnson's raised her as their daughter, and she learned about her real family, the Springs.
For twelve years the Springs of New Jersey have agonized over the loss of their middle daughter, Jennie. Her disappearance and the uncertainties of her fate have cast a pall on what is otherwise a large, boisterous family. Then after twelves years of worry, Jennie was found- alive and very well. The Springs demand that she come home to her real family.
Janie/Jennie is a total stranger to her real family. How can she adjust to this completly alien enviroment? How can she call Mr. and Mrs. Spring Mom and Dad, when she does not even know them? How can she relate to an older brother and sister who resent that she actually lived better than they did when they had feared her abused, dead, or worse at the hands of her kidnapper? How can she live without her life-long friends and her boyfriend Reeve? But she knows deep-down that she really is Jennie Spring and not Janie Johnson. In the end she must make the choice between the parents who gave birth to her and never gave up the hope of finding her, and the parents who raised her. There is no right choice here because innocent people will be hurt no matter what the decision.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kristina on March 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whatever Happened To Janie? is the exciting sequel to 'The Face on The Milk Carton. Janie Johnson now lives in New Jersey with her real family, leaving behind Frank and Miranda Johnson, whom Janie still considers her real mom and dad. Janie is having a very hard time living with the Springs.

The Springs are a very nice and caring family. The mother and father who are ever-so-rightly overprotective of the other Spring children: Stephen, Jodie, and the twins, Brendan and Brian. They keep trying to pull Janie

back into their mold. However, so far Janie is resisting. The Springs keep calling Janie by her birth name, Jennie, and the people Janie sees every day now at school calll her Jennie Spring instead of Janie Johnson. Janie is very torn because she feels like she is two different people. Janie herself has called her other half the bad half. She usually acts as the 'bad twin' when she is with Mr. and Mrs. Spring and her siblings. Janie Johnson is the bad person inside of her that she can't let go. Janie's older brother Stephen especially hates Jennie. He blames Jennie for ruining their lives. They had to live in the same house for twelve years because her dad would never accept a promotion, because of his daughters kidnaping.

Jodie wishes that Jennie would act like a real sister instead of acting like a prisoner in their home. Jodie doesn't understand why Jennie keeps running away from them ... Jennie acts like they would strike at her or yell at her all of the time. Jodie loves her family and town, and thinks they're really neat. However, Jodie realizes that Jennie had a completely different upbringing than she did. Frank and Miranda Johnson showered Jennie with not only love, but also lots of money, clothes, and whatever Jennie wanted.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David E. Levine on December 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read the first book in this series, "The Face on the Milk Carton," because year after year, I would see it on the summer reading list for a local school. Curiosity got the better of me and I bought it. I was so engrossed in the story that I just had to read the sequel (and this book is for young people whereas I'm an adult!!). Anyway, an impoprtant issue is raised; what happens when birth parents want custody of a child who has been raised by other parents?

Here, Janie Johnson had discovered she was actually Jennie Springer and, as a teenager, she was now living with the Springers in New Jersey after having been raised for nearly 12 years by the Johnsons in Connecticut. She knows the Johnsons as her parents but she turns out to be the long lost daughter of the Springers (she had been kidnapped). A teenager's reality and sense of who she is is suddenly changed. Her birth parents and siblings are unquestionably good people but Jennie's identity and sense of reality is as Janie, the daughter of Frank and Miranda Johnson. The Springers were victims, their daughter was kidnapped. Now they want their daughter back. However, doing what is right for the Springers is traumatic for their daughter. Meanwhile, the Johnsons are being hurt too since they were not culpable in the kidnapping. On the one hand, the Springer family wants to have a relationship with their daughter and sister. On the other hand, the Johnsons are losing the teenager they have come to know as their daughter.

This story is actually somewhat topical because every now and then, there is a story in the news about someone who is being raised by one set of parents getting involved in a custody battle with another set. In such a case, someone is bound to get hurt.
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