I grew up reading The Face on the Milk Carton books, so when I saw that there was a final book coming out I was intrigued. Janie Face to Face follows Janie as she enters college and tries to blend in as Jane. She grows closer to the Springs (her bio family) and tries to really find out what it means to be Jennie instead of Janie. There is also a true crime book about the kidnapping coming out and researchers for the book have been reaching out to everyone connected to Janie. Around this same point she meets and falls for a guy named Michael. She tries to keep her past from her new friends and man, but when Michael follows her to Connecticut, she realizes that maybe his motives involving her aren't what she thought. Devastated, she runs to Reeve and impulsively they decide to get married.
Meanwhile we get a glimpse into Hannah. Interwoven in this story are chapters from Hannah's POV and the reader gets to see just what she was thinking that fateful day at the mall. We also get to see what has happened to her since, and all the anger she holds onto towards Janie, her parents, and society in general. So the real story is will Hannah ever be held accountable for all the lives she's destroyed? Will Janie and Reeve pull off this whirlwind wedding with out drama? And will Janie finally figure out who she is inside... is it Janie, Jennie, Mrs. Shields...who?
I really enjoyed revisiting Janie. I haven't read the Milk Carton books in a while, but once I started reading this one it was like they never left me. I was never once lost or confused. It was really cool to see Hannah's perspective and find out what has happened to everyone involved. The only thing I didn't like was that a lot of people in the book turned out to be really flawed. And I guess that's reality, not everyone is a super good person, we all think mean things at times, but it was surprising to me how many of these characters turned out to be selfish and uncaring. Another weird thing was that the author was pretty obsessed with the whole cell phone technology. All the characters just marveled over how weird it was to have a cell phone. At this point in time I'm pretty sure that most people don't ever think about it, it's just been adapted into our every day lives. (and they were always taking pictures of people on their phones without permission... creepy).
I have always liked Janie's inner journey to figure out who she is and how she fits with all these different families. I personally have always been a Janie fan over Jennie. I feel like when she was taken in by the Johnson's, they became her parents. I know her bio parents would feel differently, but to me Janie should stay Janie and just try to include everyone in her life.
Overall: If you enjoyed the Milk Carton series which started all the way back in 1990, you will enjoy this book too. You probably won't need to reread as long as you vaguely remember how Janie found out about the kidnapping and her inner turmoil about being a Spring or a Johnson. The rest of the blanks are filled in nicely. I am thankful that Miss Cooney gave fans of this series one last look into Janie!
PS- I love the new covers of this series that were rereleased earlier this year... plus this series produced a kick-ass Lifetime movie that I'm obsessed with!
Date Published: 1/8/2013
How I got this book: Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's Books for the opportunity to read and review this book.