Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > The Face in the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

The Face in the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

May 26, 2014

face cartonThe Face in the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. Pub. Random House, 1990.

After speaking at a Whangarei high school a teacher came to me and said I had to read this novel. She used it with  reluctant readers with great success and it was hugely popular. I can see why.

First published in 1990 and reissued in 2012 this novel is compelling reading.

Teenager Janie sees a face on a carton of milk put there because the 3 year old girl in the polka dot dress is missing, presumed kidnapped. Janie recognises the photo as being her. Thoughts of Madeleine McCann.

She wonders what to do. Should she confront her parents or contact the number in New Jersey printed on the milk carton. What would you do?

Janie confides in the older boy next door, Reeve, who fancies Janie a bit, and has been in her life for yonks. He is sympathetic and helpful but really wants to get his rocks off.

When Janie confronts her parents they tell her that her real mother is Hannah, their daughter, who had run off to be in a religious cult and had returned with Janie and left her parents to bring her up. Plausible story but is it true?

A story of high tension and mental anguish as Janie agonises over what to do. She loves her mum and dad and her life but yearns to know the truth of the milk carton.

Excellent story for high school students and told in the 1990’s world which is so different from today. I hope it is still in print.


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