The Best…Mysteries/Thrillers, Part 3

The Best...Mysteries/Thrillers, Part 3

by Claire Kyllonen, Staff Writer

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

What would you do if you saw your face labeled as a ‘Missing Child’ on a milk carton? Would you laugh? Would you cry? Would you be afraid?

For 15-year-old Janie Johnson, she isn’t sure what to think. On that fateful day in her school’s cafeteria, she’s sure it’s a joke. A cruel prank. And if not that, then a terrible, terrible mistake. Because her parents, who love her dearly, couldn’t possibly be kidnappers… Right?

When inexplicable memories of a different past begin to surface in Janie’s mind, she’s forced to ask that question. After all, she looks nothing like her parents, and there are no photographs of her before she was a few years old.

When her own investigation leads to evidence that begins to overwhelm her, she turns to her “trusty, rusty” boy-next-door Reeve Shields. Together, the two set out on a potentially dangerous trek to find out about Janie’s real past. (And if Janie is even her real name.)

The Face on the Milk Carton takes any mystery/thriller fan on a tour of confusing, twisting turns. When I first picked this book to review, I didn’t clue in that it was published in 1990 until I was well into the book. It’s almost comical, the old-school jargon of high-schoolers in the 90’s. Thankfully, it doesn’t take away from the story’s excitement. While Cooney’s writing style can sometimes be choppy, simplistic, and a little dead at times, I found the book to be an enjoyable read. There were truly surprising plot twists that I didn’t see coming, as well as fun, relatable quirks in the characters. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a good psychological mystery.

If you decide to read The Face on the Milk Carton, be sure to check out the next books in the series: Whatever happened to Janie?; The Voice on the Radio; What Janie Found; and What Janie Saw…