Reading a Melody Carlson teen novel always does two things for me: 1) makes me glad I'm NOT still in high school! and 2) makes me wish I'd had Melody and her books to help me muddle through those years.
In her new series, "The Carter House Girls", Melody creates a sorority of teen girls from different backgrounds and economic situations and tosses them together in boarding house style living conditions. And we get to watch the girl fur fly!
Book one is titled "Mixed Bags", which is kind of what this first novel ends up being. Each girl is introduced to us as she moves into the boarding house, and background is layered to create the foundation for the rest of the series.
First, we have Desiree, or DJ as she prefers to be called. It's her grandmother who owns Carter House, and DJ just can't seem to do anything right in Grandmother's eyes. Rejected by her dad and mourning the loss of her mother, DJ is in a huge struggle for who she is and how she should live.
Taylor is set up to be the queen bee, and her sting is fierce. She's already painted a bull's eye on DJ's back, and it is miserable to watch. I just kept wanting to reach into the pages and snatch her bald...good thing I'm not in this story, huh??
Eliza is also rather hoity-toity, but she isn't as mean-spirited as Taylor. While DJ befriends Eliza and even takes advice from her at times, you just don't know if you can trust her completely. And that's like walking through landmines with no map, if you ask me.
Kriti is a petite and sweet young woman who's parents are over protective...and she's totally okay with that. Some of the behavior of the other Carter House girls concerns Kriti, and she's not too sure she'll stay. And that's a shame, because she and DJ could become really close.
Finally, Casey and Rhiannon, two friends from DJ's childhood, make up the six Carter House girls, and they are different as night and day. All together, there won't be a boring day in this house full of young women!
This looks like a great series that will do a lot for teen girls struggling with a wide variety of issues. Word of caution: this deals with some heavy issues, and I recommend moms and daughters read it together. Melody just has a way of really tapping into the teen girl mind that would be a little spooky if it weren't so cool...and so of God.
I'm giving "Mixed Bags" four out of five bookmarks (like I said, this is just getting off the ground, so I'm leaving room for growth:-) with a tiny Hermes knock-off bag as a charm...and you'll never GUESS what's in it!