The Face On The Milk Carton/Whatever Happened To Janie? – by Caroline B. Cooney (1990, 1993)

The Face On The Milk Carton

Janie Johnson is having an ordinary lunch in the high school cafeteria when she notices a child’s picture on the back of her friend’s milk carton. The caption under the photo says, “Have you seen me?” Although everyone else ignores the missing child picture, Janie becomes obsessed by the idea that it is her face on the milk carton.

But no, it can’t be! Life is perfect. She has wonderful parents, a best friend Sarah-Charlotte, and a great guy next door – Reeve. Surely she’s not missing, and her parents aren’t criminals. It would have been better to not have seen the picture.

The short novel explores the idea of how we handle the truth. Do we turn a blind eye when it looks as if the truth will lead us somewhere that’s uncomfortable? Is it more important to pursue truth, or protect the people we love?

Whatever Happened To Janie

The story of Janie that began in “The Face On The Milk Carton” continues in this second slim book. Janie now knows the truth, but is deeply unhappy. No matter what she decides to do, she will feel incomplete. Her best friend Sarah-Charlotte is really no support to her, and Janie grows closer to her true-blue neighbor and boyfriend Reeve.

This book focuses on the complexity of what makes a family a family. Just because you are genetically related to people does not make you automatically love them. The heart cannot be ordered to bond with someone. I felt compassion for Janie’s agonized emotions.

This book really could have just been part of the previous book. In 1995, the two books were used to make the TV movie “The Face On The Milk Carton”. Although the movie was good, the books were better.

Author: alwaysreading1

I'm just a person with an intense love for reading!

2 thoughts on “The Face On The Milk Carton/Whatever Happened To Janie? – by Caroline B. Cooney (1990, 1993)”

  1. I read this (the first book) in grade school but cant for the life of me recall if it was required reading or if I just picked it up on my own. I quite enjoyed it, though!


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