Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers of Cooney's addictive The Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie? can start licking their chops. This juicy novel serves up the further life and times of Janie Johnson, who in the previous works learned that she had been kidnapped at age three from one loving family and deposited with another. Cooney brings new readers up to speed ingeniously: Janie's boyfriend, Reeve, now a college freshman, is trying to make a name for himself at the campus radio station, and in desperation he resorts to brief installments of Janie's twisted history. He achieves almost instant popularity and fame, which help salve his conscience for betraying Janie's deepest confidences. Meanwhile Janie, a very private person, endures her senior year of high school, fending off incursions from reporters and curious classmates, and drawing closer to her birth family, the Springs. Janie hazards upon one of Reeve's broadcasts and is devastated; Cooney compensates for the predictability of this plotting with a few gorgeously timed surprises. What this novel (and its predecessors) lacks in credibility it makes up for in psychological accuracy and well-aimed, gossipy views of teensCooney seems to have a special radar for adolescent longings and insecurities, not to mention campus chic (one of Reeve's fellow deejays, for example, affects the on-air name Derek Himself). Janie's appeal is so believable that readers will want to believe in the story, too, especially in the tender scenes between Janie and her Spring mother. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Nonfiction
The ALAN Review - Susanne L. Johnston
Caroline B. Cooney does it again with The Voice on the Radio. In this sequel to The Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie?, it has been one year since Janie Johnson discovered she had been kidnapped as a child. Janie is a high-school junior and in love with Reeve. She finally feels that her life is somewhat normal and begins to reconcile with her biological family, but the voice on the radio destroys her trust. Cooney plots an engaging and realistic picture of betrayal, commitment, unconditional love, and forgiveness. Readers will not put the book down until they have seen how Janie comes to terms with those she has hurt, and with those who have hurt her.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10This companion to The Face on the Milk Carton (Bantam, 1990) and Whatever Happened to Janie (Delacorte, 1993) provides more intimate details about characters that readers have come to know and care about. Janie Johnson first saw her face on a milk carton one year ago. Reeve Shields, her boyfriend, is now a college freshman and dreams of being a talk-show DJ. As he stares at the microphone in the control room of the campus radio station, the story of Janie's kidnapping at the age of three begins to slide out of his mouth and into the airwaves of Boston. Janie, in the meantime, is trying to recover from six months of nonstop confusion in her life, having recently learned about her past. When she accompanies her newfound sister and brother on a trip to visit colleges (and see her boyfriend) in Boston, Reeve's voice on the radio makes their tumultuous lives veer in a completely new direction. The complexity of human thought and actions is vividly portrayed through the author's distinctive prose, and readers are drawn deeply into the minds and hearts of the characters. Teens who have never read about Janie's circumstances are brought up to speed by the seamless intertwining of former events throughout the story. Cooney's outstanding command of emotional tension has taken this novel to extraordinary heights.Jana R. Fine, Clearwater Public Library System, FL
From the Publisher
Praise for The Voice on the Radio:
*"Cooney's outstanding command of emotional tension has taken this novel to extraordinary heights."
--School Library Journal, starred review
*"Readers of Cooney's addictive The Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie? can start licking their chops."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"A 'must purchase' . . . . The Voice on the Radio elicits a powerful response in readers and is a real page-turner, so plan to purchase multiple copies to satisfy the demands of your teen readers."
--Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Also by Caroline B. Cooney:
The Face on the Milk Carton is an IRA-CBC Children's Choice book, and Whatever Happened to Janie? was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
Read an Excerpt
Derek Himself stared incredulously. Cal, a deejay, and Vinnie, the station manager, who were the other two guys at the station tonight, looked up from their paperwork. All three began to snicker, and then actually to snort, with laughter, although background noise was forbidden when the mike was on; it would be picked up and broadcast. Once upon a time? A beginning for kindergartners. A beginning for fairy tales and picture books.
Reeve would never live it down. He really would have to transfer.
He pictured Cordell laughing at him. Laughed at by a roommate stupider and smellier than anybody on campus? He imagined the guys in the dorm yelling Loser! Loser! Guys he wanted to be friends with but hadn't pulled it off yet. Guys who would not be polite about how worthless Reeve was.
"Once upon a time," he repeated helplessly, stuck in horrible repetition of that stupid phrase.
And then talk arrived, like a tape that had come in the mail. For Reeve Shields really did know a story that began with "Once upon a time."
"I dated a dizzy redhead. Dizzy is a compliment. Janie was light and airy. Like hope and joy. My girlfriend," he said softly, into the microphone. Into the world.
"You know the type. Really cute, fabulous red hair, lived next door. Good in school, of course, girls like that always are. Janie had lots of friends and she was crazy about her mom and dad, because that's the kind of family people like that have."
Never had Reeve's voice sounded so rich and appealing.
"Except," said Reeve, "except one day in the school cafeteria, a perfectly ordinary day, when kids were stealing each other's desserts and spilling each other's milk, Janie just happened to glance down at the picture of that missing child printed on the milk carton."
His slow voice seemed to draw a half-pint of milk, with its little black-and-white picture of a missing child. It was almost visible, that little milk carton, that dim and wax-covered photograph.
"And the face on the milk carton," said Reeve, "was Janie herself."
He deepened his voice, moving from informative into mysterious. "They can't fit much information on the side of a half-pint," said Reeve, "but the milk carton said that little girl had been missing since she was three. Missing for twelve years."
In radio, you could not see your audience. Reeve could not know whether he really did have an audience. Radio was faith.
"Can you imagine if your daughter, or your sister, had disappeared twelve years ago? Twelve years have gone by, and yet you still believe. Surely somehow, somewhere, she must be waiting, and listening. You haven't given up hope. You refuse to admit she's probably dead by now, probably was dead all along. You believe there is a chance in a million that if you put her picture on a milk carton, she'll see it."
Beyond the mike, Reeve imagined dormitories--kids slouched on beds and floors, listening. Listening to him.
"Well," said Reeve, "she saw it."
From the Hardcover edition.