What did Janie like about her life?
Fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson is the protagonist of Caroline B. Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton. She lives in a quiet town in Connecticut. There are many things that Janie likes about her life. For instance, she has loving parents who dote on her. Janie's parents also spend much of their time giving back to the community, and Janie loves going to see the local soccer games that her father coaches or accompanying her mother on mother-daughter outings.
Janie also has a close-knit group of friends, including her best friend, Sarah-Charlotte Sherwood. She enjoys being with them. She eats lunch with the group almost every day, and they share food as well as stories about themselves. While the group generally acts as a strong support network for one another, Janie cannot bring herself to confide in them about the problems that confront her once she sees a photo of three-year-old Jennie Spring on a milk carton and notices a similarity between the child and herself. The caption under Jennie's picture indicates that she was kidnapped over a decade earlier. Janie eventually concludes that she is Jennie Spring, who was stolen her from her biological family years before.
This causes Janie to question everything about her life and her parents. Even so, in some ways this crisis is also a catalyst for her relationship with the boy next door, Reeve Shields, to deepen.
As the book progresses, she opens up about her dilemma to Reeve. Being able to unburden herself to someone whom she trusts makes things a little easier for Janie to face. Reeve is able to help Janie understand the events that led to the kidnapping and how to navigate her complicated situation. In describing one encounter between the two, who are now becoming romantically involved with one another, the author writes,
Peace settled in on Janie. She felt heavier, as if her weight might press on Reeve until his ribs broke.
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