Throwback Thursday – The Face on the Milk Carton

A book for pre-early teens who desperately want to believe they’re not related to their family.

In The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney, the young protagonist is eating breakfast one morning and sees the face of a three year old child kidnapped twelve years earlier. The more she looks at the box, the more certain she is that the face is hers. Her parents have no pictures of her before the age four, so that’s all the proof she needs to start searching.

Before the time of the internet, her search includes the library and driving by the home of the family she believes she belongs to. I remember few of the details of the book, but I loved it the first time I read it. It was shocking and exciting. This was not your typical YA book of the time. I re-read it about fifteen years ago and remember thinking the writing was awful, but I maintained the happy memories from that first read.

Apparently, this book is the first in a series, but I’ve only read the first one – which apparently came out in 1990… it doesn’t read like a 90s book. In my memory, this is an 80s book. I guess since it was published in 1990, it technically is an 80s book. Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that it reads a little on the wholesome side.


Like this. This is exactly the kind of book report collage I would expect for this book.

This book probably won’t connect with the kids of today – who probably won’t understand the title anyway. If it’s re-released, I supposed it would be called the face on the facebook page or InstagramMe? Or something equally dating, but the content might resonate.

But let’s not forget, this book also introduced us to the new and exciting world of lactose intolerance. That’s what really matters.

There was also a made for TV movie version of this starring the quintessential 90s go to girl Kellie Martin. I haven’t seen this, but now I desperately want to.



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