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Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2012 Readers who have followed Janie/Jennie’s story since The Face on the Milk Carton (1990) will be eager to learn how the series concludes in this fifth book. Ever since Janie recognized her face on a milk carton and dealt with the media aftermath, she has been eager for anonymity, and she sees her chance to blend in as a college student in crowded New York City. But her new life is threatened when a famous crime writer starts hounding her relatives and threatening to publish a book. There’s one person Janie can turn to, though—her ex, Reeve. Chapters alternate between Janie’s former kidnapper, Hannah, who is seeking revenge on “the parent thief,” and the main narrative, which switches its third-person point of view between Janie, her siblings, and others. The revolving cast of characters will keep readers interested, as will Janie’s search for identity. And while the thriller elements never reach a truly exciting climax and the culprit behind the tell-all isn’t entirely believable, loyal followers will see this novel through and make sure Janie gets the happy ending she deserves. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Face on the Milk Carton was a New York Times best-seller and became a movie on Lifetime. Fans will be eager for this finale. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2013 Though it’s been over twenty years since The Face on the Milk Carton (BCCB 2/90) chronicled fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson’s discovery of her history as a kidnapped child, time moves slowly in the world of fiction, and Janie, in her seventh and supposedly final book, is here only just going to college, where she’s determined to distance herself from the lurid story of her past. She seems to be managing it, deftly juggling her birth family and her Johnson parents and finding a new romance with a young man removed from the whole saga. When it turns out that her new flame is actually a paid researcher for a book on Janie’s story, though, she’s shocked out of her denial, and she decides to reaffirm what’s important to her by reconnecting with (and getting engaged to) her high school boyfriend, Reeve—but does the past harbor one more sinister blow for Janie? Cooney is a master of potboilers, but the story is mostly just reheated at this point: the back-and-forth of Janie’s emotions about her families and Reeve just recapitulates previous go-rounds, and her speedy decisions to marry Reeve and embrace her birth name seem like just another spin of the revolving door rather than any emotionally stable conclusion. The plot of Janie’s kidnapper’s renewed interest in her is more energetic, but the kidnapper’s portrayal is one of flat villainy that’s a stark contrast to the complexity of the rest of the characters. Those individual sketches of the ensemble members, so much Cooney’s hallmark, remain interesting here, but ultimately Janie herself seems to be just flotsam in the plot currents rather than an evolving character. While sheer momentum will likely propel Milk Carton fans to this title, Janie may finally be past her sell-by date. DS - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2013 Gr 6 Up—This fifth entry in the saga ties up many loose ends. Janie, now a college student, is conflicted about her ties to both her birth family and the family who raised her after their daughter, Hannah, kidnapped her and passed her off as their granddaughter. Having ended her relationship with Reeve after he gossiped about her life story to the media, Janie falls for Michael, a student who seems overly interested in digging up details about her past. When his true intentions become clear, Janie returns to the security and comfort of her relationship with Reeve, who impulsively proposes. Meanwhile, Hannah's life continues to spiral out of control while she plans revenge on her parents. Numerous flashbacks make it unnecessary to have read the previous books, although readers invested in the characters will receive the most enjoyment from the story. Janie's desire to bond with her biological family, while wanting to protect the fragile feelings of her second family, is understandable and sensitively drawn. Although her impending wedding seems naïve and rushed, her longing to establish a new life and identity is palpable. Hannah's psychological issues and deepening paranoia are believable and fascinating. The overwhelming feelings of guilt and regret that are inevitably felt by many families affected by kidnapping are genuinely expressed. A lengthy author's note explains the inspiration behind The Face on the Milk Carton and the reasoning behind each sequel.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.