Whatever Happened to Janie? (Turtleback) - Caroline B. Cooney

Janie Johnson's whole life changed when she found out she is the girl on the milk carton. And now Janie has to go live with her birth family in New Jersey.

Living in New Jersey with her real family, Janie has to become Jennie Spring and Janie doesn't know if she can. Since she was three and half, she has been Janie Johnson.

Janie doesn't want to hurt the Springs or the Johnsons. But it seems, whatever choice she makes it will hurt one of her families.

I would say it has been at least 10 years or a little more since I read The Face on the Milk Carton and so I don't remember every detail of the book. But I do remember greatly enjoying the book and it became one of my favorites. I'll eventually give it a re-read sometime.

I didn't know it was a series until about 4 years ago and I found the second book at a library book sale. It took me a while to read it, but I finally have and I am glad I did.

I remember the first book was quite emotional and this one is, too. I think maybe even more so than the first book. The story is seen through not only Janie's point of view, but others as well.

In some ways I think I liked this better than the first book. Janie must live with her birth family and this brought up another emotional struggle for her. She now knows she was kidnapped, but does not blame her parents (the Johnsons) they really believed Janie was their granddaughter. But they raised, they loved her and took care of her. Biological or not. Janie considers them her parents.

And her birth parents, her siblings, Janie can see in appearance and otherwise, they are her biological family. But she did not grow up with them and despite the many similarities, they feel like strangers to her.

Janie does realize she cares for her birth family and doesn't want to hurt them. But she doesn't want to hurt her parents, the people who raised her. And no matter what choice she makes, Janie realizes it will hurt one of her families.

I felt for Janie and she could have been nicer at times, but I think how she acted was understandable too. She was in the middle of all this; had two sets of parents that both love and want her. I really feel a lot was expected of her, especially by her birth family. I understand they wanted her back, she is their daughter after all. But to me, it seems if as they expected her to move in with them and be part of the family like for the past twelve years she hadn't lived with someone else. Like nothing ever happened.

Her two older siblings annoyed me a bit. While I understand they were in pain, they were mean at times (I think even meaner than Janie. At one point her brother Stephen told her she deserved to be dead). They felt Janie wasn't trying hard enough to be part of the family and they definitely let her know it.

The other thing that annoyed was Reeve. He is upset she is gone, but mostly his point of view is about how much he wants her. I wish his point of view hadn't been like that.

And I think this book really explores the topic of family. Sometimes family isn't just biological. Family, in my opinion, is anyone who truly loves and cares about you. Janie realizes this also.

I really enjoyed this and the only reason I am not giving this five stars is the reasons mentioned above. Besides that, I think I actually liked this more than the first book.