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The Face on the Milk Carton Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 764 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Janie Johnson Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The picture of a missing child printed on a milk carton attracts the attention of 15-year-old Jane Johnson. A glimpse of the girl's polka-dot dress causes memories to surface, and Jane begins to review her past and question her true identity. It is nearly impossible for Jane to perceive her loving parents as kidnappers; the task of gathering evidence and drawing conclusions proves less difficult than confronting the undeniable truth. As the novel ends, Jane has found the courage to contact her real parents, but Cooney cleverly leaves the events that follow to readers' imaginations. Although the book's plot is based largely on coincidences, Cooney's skilled writing makes even the most unlikely events seem plausible. The roller-coaster ride Jane experiences with her emotions is both absorbing and convincing. Strong characterizations and suspenseful, impeccably-paced action add to this novel's appeal. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 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-Alyssa Bresnahan brings to life the character of 15-year-old Janie Johnson, a teenager whose typical angst is compounded when she discovers her picture on a milk carton as a missing child. Searching for the truth behind the kidnapping consumes Janie as she tries to maintain the balance between the craziness of her discovery and the teenage world of school, dates, and friends. Bresnahan deftly portrays each character, creating a unique voice for each. The sense of terror that develops in Janie is exhibited by the rising tension in the narrator's voice. Read equally well is the part of Janie's parents-their voices changing during the course of the story from professional and upbeat to wary and defeated. The progression of the characters complements the piece nicely. While the pace of the recording remains steady, it is slightly too slow and tedious at times to accompany this suspenseful tale. However, this does not outweigh the value of Caroline B. Cooney's excellent story (BDD, 1996) which has been a favorite read for young teenagers, an IRA-CBC Children's Choice Book, and the subject of a television special. The popularity of the book will cause this recording to leap off the shelves.
Diana Baker Freeman, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (April 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440220653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440220657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (764 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on August 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Face on the Milk Carton is one of the best books I've read, and I read a lot! The plot starts right away when 15 year old Janie picks up a milk carton and glances at a "missing" ad of a little girl. No big deal... until she recognizes the picture. It is herself, years before. Janie and her boyfriend, Reeve, try to get to the bottom of the complicated story. She can't imagine her kind parents being kidnappers... but who else could it be? What happened? The plot of this book was very creative and exciting, and I couldn't put it down! I recommended it to all of my friends, because it has it all - romance, mystery, drama... And they all loved it! I would recommend this book for everyone ages 12 and up! Also, if you liked this, be sure to read the sequels, Whatever Happened to Janie?, The Voice on the Radio, and What Janie Found.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I gave The Face On The Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney four stars. I'm not an avid reader, but when I picked this book up I couldn't put it down. It had a believable, tension filled plot with action and suspense. In the book Janie Johnson, recognizing her own three year old, two inch face on her milk carton, starts an emotional trip that takes her from her high school lunch room to the truth about her identity. Janie unravels the mystery of her birth. She tries and succeeds in finding out if her parents are her real parents or if she was kidnapped ten years ago as a young child. The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is because it kept jumping around, getting off the subject it was trying to explain, then coming back to it a couple pages later. I really liked The Face on the Milk Carton and I would recommend it to any teenager or adult.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After seeing the made for TV movie based on The Face on the Milk Carton, I knew the book would be great. I had heard of Caroline B Cooney before, but never read any of her books, and decided to give her a try.
Janie Johnson thinks her name is boring, her life too generic, and wants an adventure, she wants to be someone else. As she sits in school and actually plans another life for herself, she knows it will never come true. But then, when her friends are all sitting around drinking milk from the school cafeteria, Janie can't believe her eyes. The picture of the missing child placed on the carton is herself. She remembers how she had her hair in pigtails, the dress she was wearing, everything.
Janie is taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride, not trusting her mom and dad anymore, not telling her best friend (oddly named Sarah-Charlotte), and at the same time fighting romantic feelings towards her friend - and neighbor - Reeve. Throughout the book Janie confronts her fears, aquires Reeve as more than a friend, and finds out what happened when she was three years old - and whisked away from her home and family, to a new, loving group of people.
This book is awesome, and I can't wait to read the next in the series, but this is definately not a book for kids under age 12. There is much talk aboud underaged, unmarried sex, and plenty of creepy - possibly frightening - nightmares that Janie suffers from.
Overall grade - A
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By Lisa M on February 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book for a young adult literature class. In it I expected to read about the story of Janie Johnson/Jennie Springer discovering that she was kidnepped, who her real parents were, andthe events that come with such a situation. I am glad that this is part of a series because I didn't get exactly what I expected. Janie Johnson does discover one day that she had been kidnapped as a little girl. She discovers that the people who have raised her as long as she can remember are not her real parents, and that they honestly believe that they are her grandparents. This book focuses on the mental turmoil and internal conflict that Janie/Jennie has as she tries to piece together the puzzle that has been spilled out before her. Unfortunately the plot doesn't have much of a pace at all. We are repeatedly sucked into her "daymares" as she begins to remember things from before her kidnapping. The only change that happens in the story is when she becomes romantically involved with the boy next door. There is alot of inuendo and talk about teen sex. I think this is something many parents might want to know before they give it to their kids to read. I'm not saying kids shouldn't read it. It is after all a fact of high school life. But parents should be made aware of what their children are reading and should set the standards for their
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Face on the Milk Carton
By Caroline B. Coonie
Date of review 9/20/02
I read the fascinating book, The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Coonie. This book is about a girl who saw her face on a milk carton under the missing ad and realizes the parents she knows and loves must not be her parents. Could they have possibly kidnapped her? Janie is the main character; she is the girl who spots her face on the milk carton. While trying to keep it a secret, she tries to figure out this mystery but at the same time she tears her self esteem apart. Reeve is Janie's boyfriend and next door neighbor, he helps Janie out along the way because he is the only one who knows Janie's secret. Sarah-Charlotte is Janie's best friend who doesn't understand what is going on because she doesn't know the secret. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are the people who Janie thought were her parents for all these years. Caroline B. Coonie's message in this book is not to take your life for granted. Janie was always trying to write her name differently because she thought her name was boring. When Janie figured out her name really wasn't Janie Johnson she wished it was. Caroline B. Coonie's style of writing is making you want to read more and more by making you hang in suspense at the end or even the middle of a chapter.

The most important event in this book is when Janie eats a peanut butter sandwich and needs milk afterwards. So Janie steels Sarah-Charlotte's milk and drinks it even though she is allergic to milk. That is when Janie notices the picture on the milk carton and wishes she had never drank that milk. The second important event is when Janie and Reeve skip school to drive to New Jersey to see if the people who are her parents (according to the milk carton) are really her parents.
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