Cover image for Whatever happened to Janie?
Whatever happened to Janie?
Cooney, Caroline B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, [1994]

Physical Description:
199 pages ; 18 cm.
The members of two families have their lives disrupted when a teenage girl who had been kidnapped twelve years earlier discovers that the people who raised her are not her biological parents. Sequel to "The Face on the Milk Carton."
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Delacorte Press, 1993.
Reading Level:

720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.7 7.0 9996.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.3 12 Quiz: 12433 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Popular Materials-Reading List
Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



No one ever paid attention to the faces of missing children on milk cartons. But as Janie  Johnson glanced at the face of the little girl who had been taken twelve years ago, she recognized that little girl--it was herself.

The mystery of the kidnapping is unraveled, but the nightmare is not over. The Spring family wants justice, but who is to blame? It's difficult to figure out what's best for everyone.

Janie Johnson or Janie Spring? There's enough love for everyone, but how can the two separate families live happily ever after?

Author Notes

Caroline Cooney was born in 1947 in Geneva, New York. She studied music, art, and English at various colleges, but never graduated. She began writing while in college. Her young adult books include The Face on the Milk Carton, Whatever Happened to Janie?, The Voice on the Radio, What Janie Found, No Such Person, and the Cheerleaders Series. She received an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults for Driver's Ed and an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers for Twenty Pageants Later. Two of her titles, The Rear View Mirror and The Face on the Milk Cartoon, were made into television movies.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-11. In a gripping sequel to The Face on the Milk Carton (1990), Janie is a typical 15-year-old, except that she has two families. After discovering that she is the missing face on a milk carton, Janie returns to her birth family, which has been searching for her since her kidnapping at age three. This unusual story presents the struggles of Janie, her siblings, and both sets of parents in an engrossing fashion. Janie promises she will have no contact with her adoptive family for three months, but everyone underestimates how difficult this will be. Which woman deserves the title and affection reserved for "Mom"? What name does she write on her papers at school--Janie Johnson or Jennie Spring? The gut-wrenching circumstances in which the characters find themselves are honestly conveyed, and while most YAs won't be able to identify with the situation, all readers will be able to recognize the powerful emotions of love, hate, and anger that Cooney sensitively portrays. ~--Susan ~DeRonne

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers left on the edge of their seats at the conclusion of The Face on the Milk Carton will race to get their hands on this equally gripping sequel. Janie is an illegally adopted child who discovered the existence of her natural parents 12 years after her kidnapping. As this phase of the saga begins, Janie Johnson (nee Jennie Spring) has contacted her real mother and father, who have lost no time in reclaiming her. Trying to do the right thing, the 15-year-old agrees to leave her much-loved adoptive parents' home in a small Connecticut town and move to the Springs' crowded New Jersey split-level. The Springs' expectations prove to be too great for homesick Janie, who cannot stop thinking about the pain her adoptive parents are suffering and feels guilty whenever she begings to be the slightest bit happy in her new household. Janie's struggle to sort out who she is and where she belongs turns out to be profoundly upsetting not only for herself, but also for both sets of parents and her natural older sister and three brothers. Cooney builds a strong case for the rights of adoptive parents while painting a sympathetic portrait of birth parents who have given up a child, unwillingly or otherwise. The power and nature of love is wrenchingly illustrated throughout this provocative novel, which expresses multiple points of view with remarkable understanding. However strange the events of this book, the emotions of its characters remain excruciatingly real. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-- Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton (Bantam, 1990) involved a 15-year-old girl who discovers she had been kidnapped when she was 3. Those left hanging by the ambiguous ending to that story will want to read this sequel in which Janie goes to live with her biological parents and four siblings. Although all of the family members are eager to include her, she's determined to remain emotionally aloof. Finally, Janie asserts her desire to return to her adopted family, and her biological parents love her enough to let her go. The strength of this book is that all of the parties are easy to empathize with. They are well-rounded characters with quirks and annoying qualities, yet all have compassion for ``the other guy,'' even while feeling their own pain. The suspense centers around the question of which family needs Janie more and which she will choose. There is no clear answer to her dilemma since both love her and have suffered through no fault of their own. While Janie ultimately puts her own feelings first by choosing the family that is ``real'' to her, the stage is set for future changes of heart and perhaps another sequel. Meanwhile, this book won't gather dust on the shelf. --Jacqueline Rose, Southeast Regional Library, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.