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Banned Book Review: The Face on the Milk Carton

February 27, 2006

Woo! The home computer is up and limping along!

68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

Reason: Sexual Content Other: Challenge to authority

The only thing I can figure that this “challenge to authority” thing refers to is the “unmentioned daughter” who provides the twist to this book.  Because the main character wasn’t all that rebellious.  Except for the part when she and her boyfriend skip school to find her real parents, but can we really call that a challenge to authority?  There is some sexual content, but it lasts for all of half a page and skips from “heavy petting” to “thanks, see you next week.”  Not really that casually, but you get the drift.  This book is actually the first in a series of four about a young girl who finds her picture on the side of a milk carton.  She has been kidnapped.  Most of the book is spent working through her difficulty reconciling the image of her perfect, happy parents with the idea that they could be kidnappers.  Eventually the reality of her origins is revealed and she works through the pain and guilt of what she sees as her participation in her own kidnapping.  Her internal debate over whether to contact her “real” parents provides the lead in to the next book.  It’s fairly well written, though the main character and her parents were a little too “perfect” to sit well with me.  Recommended for grades 7-10.

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