THE FACE ON THE MILK CARTON
From the Janie series, volume 1
In a novel that never quite lives up to its gripping premise, a high-school student discovers that her much-loved parents may in fact be her kidnappers. After Jane Johnson sees what seems to be her own face as a three-year-old displayed on a school lunch carton, she is plunged into a series of flashbacks: memories of long-forgotten childhood experiences that reinforce her sudden suspicion that she may have been kidnapped. As the underpinnings of her secure world slip, she clings to Reeve, the boy next door, with whom she is falling in love. Her parents' explanation (they are her grandparents; her mother abandoned Jane to return to a cult) proves unsatisfactory, pushing Jane toward emotional collapse until--with the help of Reeve and his sister--she finds a way to face the situation rationally. Cooney's original plot and satisfying resolution are marred by Jane's interminably overwrought analysis of her condition, and by a love interest that is more tacked on than intrinsic. Nevertheless, a real page-turner.