Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

Janie Johnson is just a regular girl who dreams of an exotic life filled with adventure -- and, boy, does she get it. One day, as Janie and her friends are eating lunch in the school cafeteria, the kids all joke about the missing children ads on their milk carton. Janie picks up her friend's carton, drinks the milk, then realizes in a flash of memory that the girl on the carton is her.

Stunned, Janie begins to question everything around her. Who are these people who have said they were her parents? Are they crazy? Could these caring, nurturing people be dangerous? Haven't they already broken the law?

When she finds a cache of old papers with the name "Hannah" on them and the dress from the milk-carton photograph, she finally confronts her parents.

Their answers pacify her...until new, unsettling questions arise to poke holes in their story.

A twisting mystery that brings up some of the most unsettling feelings; What if the life that seemed so normal was merely a sham?

Intrigued by the title, I delved in and couldn't put this book down. Disturbing and gripping.

Bibliotherapeutic value: This is a novel about a child "owning" her story, about finding out the truth, even when the truth may be uncomfortable. In order to get what she wants. Janie has to confront people with buried memories that some would prefer stayed buried.

Cooney, Caroline. The Face on the Milk Carton. New York: Laurel Leaf Books, 1991.

ISBN: 0440220653. $6.99.

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