Written by Gina Bonacci

Grade 8
John Jay Middle School, Cross River, New York
Lucretia Pannozzo, Teacher


A young adult author who loves to write romance novels is Caroline B. Cooney. Believe it or not she started writing when she was twenty-seven. She had extra time on her hands while she was taking care of her child. She decided to take up writing as a hobby. (Junior Discovering Authors)

Caroline B. Cooney was born on May 10, 1947 and was brought up in Greenwich, Connecticut. She lived with her parents, Dexter Mitchell and Martha Bruce (They're divorced now), and brother. Caroline took piano at age seven and played the organ at age thirteen. She loved to read a lot throughout High School and did very well. On the other hand, in college, she didn't do so well. (Something About the Author)

Caroline failed out and never graduated college. She went to Indiana University from 1965-1966, then went to Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing from 1966-1967. Last, she went to University of Connecticut in 1968. (Something About the Author) Caroline married her husband in 1967. Now Caroline has three children of her own. Her first kid she had was when she was twenty-one. Her two daughters are Louisa who is 18 and Sayre who is 15 and her son Harold who is 11. When Caroline had her first baby she said:

"Sitting home with babies, I had to find a way to entertain myself. So I started writing with a pencil, between the children's naps-baby in one arm, notebook in the other."

It started off with her writing bad short stories that she sent away and were always sent back to her and rejected. Then one day she sent an article away and they decided to publish it in Seventeen magazine. After that she started writing for young adults. Soon after that she wrote her first book in 1979, Safe as the Grave. In 1980 she wrote her first adult novel, Rear View Mirror. (Junior Discovering Authors) Caroline writes for adults and teenagers. She writes novels, romance, mysteries, teen situations and series books. "I believe that to love and to be loved are the most fierce desires any of us will ever have." (Something About the Author.)

Her process for writing is to just jot down little notes or ideas, then make an outline with them and then write. Her books take place where she thinks the right setting would be. She fits her family in her stories sometimes. She might use their actions, features or personalities for another character. (Junior Discovering Authors) Her writing is done at her house and then she sends it away to be edited. Her hobbies are to write and play the organ; she's also a musician at a church. She's inspired to write by the teens at her volunteer job. (Junior Discovering Authors)

She has won awards in the past. She won one for Juvenile Literature and a Teen Romance Award in 1985. Overall, Caroline B. Cooney is a hard working author and an amazing multitalented women. Caroline B. Cooney is a famous writer. She uses many different styles and writing processes. She grew to love reading and writing. She has a husband and three kids who adore her and who she loves dearly. Caroline is a musician and has many interesting and enjoyable hobbies. She also donates a lot of her to time working with schools and churches.


Caroline B. Cooney used the same process for both The Face on the Milk Carton and Whatever Happened to Janie?. The second is a sequel to the first. She uses flashbacks, dialogue, and description in these books. This paper will explain and give examples of the author's style for her books.

A flashback is one of the styles that Caroline Cooney uses in her books. A flashback is talking about or thinking about something that already happened.

"She remembered how that dress... how the collar itched... remembered the fabric; it was summer fabric; the wind blew through it... remember how those braids swung like red silk against her cheeks." (Caroline B. Cooney, The Face on the Milk Carton, 11)

In addition to The Face on the Milk Carton, there were flashbacks in the sequel, Whatever Happened to Janie?.

"Jodie's daydreams-the old ones when she wondered what a sister would be like-came back like a movie rented for the VCR.." (Caroline B. Cooney, Whatever Happened to Janie?, 153.)

Caroline B. Cooney also uses much dialogue in these books. Dialogue is when two or more people are speaking to each other. To show that it's usually put in quotes.

"Life isn't like that now," said Mrs. Shields sadly. "Too many dreadful possibilities out there. And hardly any lassies to save you. Mothers have nightmares about their babies, Janie Janie-from drowning in a neighbor's swimming pool to snapping the spine playing football. I think all mothers fear that one dreadful accident-when the child dashes out in front of a truck. When some maniac snatches the child during the one second the mother isn't looking. Your mother has always felt that way, Janie. She's always been afraid." (Caroline B. Cooney, The Face on the Milk Carton, 31.)

There's also dialogue in Whatever Happened to Janie?.

"I'll stay with you as long as I can," said Jodie, "but you're in a different grade. You'll have different classes. But each teacher has assigned you a buddy. You won't ever have to go anywhere alone." (Caroline B. Cooney, Whatever Happened to Janie?, 44)

In the novel, The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline Cooney uses great descriptions. Description is describing someone or something in detail.

"Janie had fabulous hair: a wild, chaotic mane of red curls glinting, gold. People always commented on it. As her best friend, Sarah-Charlotte, said, "Janie that is serious hair." (Caroline B. Cooney, The Face on the Milk Carton, 2.)

In addition to The Face on the Milk Carton, Caroline B. Cooney also uses good description in Whatever Happened to Janie?.

"The bedroom in Connecticut was a beautiful, sunny room, from which Janie Johnson had led a beautiful and sunny life. The leftovers of her childhood enthusiasms filled every shelf: the horse back riding ribbons from fourth grade; the silver flute and the wooden music stand from sixth; the pompons and trophy from seventh-grade cheerleading." (Caroline B. Cooney, Whatever Happened to Janie?, 11.)

These examples are right out of the books. They show Caroline B. Cooney's style of writing.


The Face on the Milk Carton.

I recommend this heartwarming mystery novel story for grades, 7-10. This is an exciting story that makes you want to read on and on. It started with a fifteen-year-old girl named, Janie. She was at lunch in the school cafeteria drinking milk and she read the face that was on the milk carton. She realizes that the thirteen-year-old girl on the milk carton is her. She's wondering now whom she's living with. If it's her kidnappers or maybe it's one of her real parents because they took her. Nothing that's happening seems to piece together and make sense.

Whatever Happened to Janie?

Whatever Happened to Janie? is a moving story. Since Janie was kidnapped and found her real parents, now she's living with them. Now that Janie is living with her biological parents, she realizes she misses her other parents. She's grown to love the parents who kidnapped her since she's been with them for many years. What will she do? I recommend you to read this book. It is the sequel to The Face on the Milk Carton. I rate this book an eight on a scale from 1-10.


As you can see, Caroline B. Cooney has been, is and always will be both a wonderful writer and extraordinary human being. I hope you find Caroline B. Cooney's novels as exciting as I did. I enjoyed studying her a lot and I hope that you enjoyed reading about her.


Commire, Anne, ed. Something About the Author. Volume 48. Detroit, MI: 1987.

Cooney, Caroline. The Face on the Milk Carton. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1991.

Cooney, Caroline. Whatever Happened to Janie? New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1994.

Garrett, Agnes and Helga P. McCue, ed. Authors and Artists for Young Adults. Vol 5. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1990.

Junior Discovering Authors. CD-ROM. Gale Research Inc. Detroit, 1994.

Return to Vandergrift's Author Page
Return to Vandergrift's Children's Literature Page

To send mail to Kay E. Vandergrift

Created March 31, 1997