15-year-old Janie Johnson feels plain. Ordinary. She wishes she had a better name like her friends Sarah-Charlotte Sherwood and Adair O’ Dell. Those are names that say something. She thinks maybe she could start spelling her name with a “y”, like Jayne. Or two”y’s”, Jayyne. And maybe her last name could be something cooler, like Johnstone. How will she ever be anyone as Janie Johnson?
All of this changes when one day at lunch she sees a face on the milk carton of a little three-year old pigtail girl. The face, is Janie’s face. She remembers the dress in the picture and suddenly her world is turned upside down. Is she a missing child? Are her parents not really her parents? If she is not Janie Johnson….
then who is she?
The Face On The Milk Carton was a quick and good read. As I was reading this book I could not help but feel I had seen this somewhere and had a flash back to a younger version of me watching an After School Special about this. (Anyone remember after school specials? They were on tv around 4:00 in the afternoon and they were stories with a message. ) Sure enough, I looked it up and this was actually a tv show and seeing the actress that played Janie, it all came back to me.
The book deals with typical teenage angst. Janie gives me the impression in the beginning of just being bored. Of course that rapidly changes as she starts to have anxiety over what she discovered on the milk carton and starts to explore what that could possibly mean for her and the people she loves as her parents.
I thought the book was handled well and as I finished it I really had no idea why this book would have made the banned books list. Other than a brief possible sexual opportunity – which is considered, but declined, there really was nothing in the book.
The books ends suddenly and many questions are still left unanswered. Apparently to my surprise, the story doesn’t end with this book. There is a sequel to the book called “Whatever Happened To Janie?” AND then it goes on to a third book called “The Voice On The Radio” and concludes this series (4 books now… it is a series) with “What Janie Found“.
I never knew about the other books so that was interesting. Also interesting is that none of the other books are on the challenged or banned lists. 😀
Why was Caroline B Cooney’s Face On The Milk Carton Banned?
The faintest reference to the idea of sex (a possible first encounter) was all that it took for a challenge to be made to this book. Subsequent protests involved a perceived “challenge to authority” that occurred when Janie becomes to determined to establish her true parentage.
I borrowed this from our local library