Friday, 10 March 2017

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

The Face on the Milk Carton—such an unusual title. I had no hesitation in picking up the paperback from a neat row of secondhand books at Smoker’s Corner, the half-a-century old bookstall in South Mumbai. I like a surprise catch. I rarely misjudge it.

Until then, I didn’t know about prolific American author Caroline B. Cooney who wrote the 1990 award-winning novel—the first in her Janie Johnson series. It was adapted into a film for television.

As you can see from the cover, The Face on the Milk Carton is about the mystery of a missing child called Janie Johnson. I plan to read the book soon even though it is for young adults and I don’t really like reading about missing children. I am just curious.


The back of the book says, “No one ever really paid close attention to the faces of the missing children on the milk cartons. But as Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl with her hair in tight pigtails, wearing a dress with a narrow white collar—a three-year-old who had been kidnapped twelve years before from a shopping mall in New Jersey—she felt overcome with shock. She recognized that little girl—it was she. How could it possibly be true? Janie can't believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, but as she begins to piece things together, nothing makes sense. Something is terribly wrong. Are Mr. and Mrs. Johnson really Janie's parents? And if not, who is Janie Johnson, and what really happened?

© Caroline B. Cooney
Caroline B. Cooney—author of more than 90 suspense, mystery, horror, and romance novels for teenagers—got the story idea from the poster of a missing three-year-old child at La Guardia Airport. The little girl had been missing for fifteen years.

“No one can recognize a child fifteen years later from her three-year-old picture. It’s hopeless. The mother and father will never find her. I got on my plane, weepy from thinking about those parents, and thought—actually, there is one person who might recognize the photo. The little girl herself. Right away, I thought: what a great idea for a book. You recognize yourself on a missing child poster,” the author writes on her website carolinebcooneybooks.com.

This does sound like a good read.

Starting 1979, Caroline B. Cooney has written over sixty standalone novels and several more in her Janie Johnson series, The Vampire's Promise trilogy, Losing Christina series and Time Travelers Quartet. Her books have won several awards and figure on many book lists. 

Have you read Caroline B. Cooney’s novels?

20 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fascinating premise - I'll be interested to hear what you think of it...

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    1. It certainly does, FictionFan. I think, this would be my fourth book about missing children. The narrative style is simple and in the mould of YA fiction.

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  2. I have not heard of this author and I agree, the idea she had for a novel is very interesting. I hope you read and review the book.

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    1. I hope to do that soon, Tracy. It's not a very long book, just under 200 pages which made me breathe easy right away.

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  3. Oh, I am intrigued by this one, Prashant! What an interesting premise for a story! And Jamie's character sounds interesting, too. I'll be interested in what you think of it when you've finished it.

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    1. Me too, Margot. I didn't think twice before picking it up. I'm keen to find out what Janie does after she recognises herself as the three-year-old missing child.

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  4. Very interesting, Prashant. I too am looking forward to your review.

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    1. Thanks, Neer. I hope to read and review the book as soon as I can.

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  5. The author and story both new to me. sounds very interesting indeed.

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    1. Same here, Mystica. I liked the couple of pages I read.

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  6. That is a cool title. Never read anything by her but she's now on my radar.

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    1. Charles, she has an easy style that I liked.

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  7. That is a great title isn't it? I knew it already because it was a great favourite book of my daughter's when she was a teenager. I never read it - I'll have to ask her what she liked about it.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that, Moira. I'm also glad I picked up a good book.

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  8. That's a great title and a great concept.

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    1. Jenny, thank your visiting and commenting. The title is what lured me to this book. Besides, I'd never heard of the writer before.

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  9. An unusual title for what seems to be a thrilling book.

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    1. I agree, Oscar. I often buy books based on titles alone. This one is certainly innovative.

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  10. I think the cover would have made me pick this one up, I hope you enjoy it when you get there.

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    1. That's the same reason I did, Col. I hope to get to this book faster than I normally do with new buys.

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