Carter House Girls

June 2, 2008
By Rachel Henry, Grand Rapids, MI

What do you get when you put six teenage girls, all from different families, under one roof? One word: t-r-o-u-b-l-e. Add a retired 60's fashion model, the drama of dating and high school, and throw in a couple of Gucci bags, and you have the Carter House Girls; a brand new chick flick series by Melody Carlson. At the present moment, there are only two books in this series, Mixed Bags and Stealing Bradford, but more are on there way!

In book one, Mixed Bags, Carlson introduces the six girls. There's Desiree, or DJ, whose grandmother owns the Victorian-era boarding home that the girls are staying in. Taylor, a snooty rich LA chick, who always seems to get her way. There's Eliza, a Connecticut girl, who looks and acts like Little Miss Perfect. Kirti, a petite girl, who doesn't look much older than 12, whose father runs a knock-off business. Rhiannon who is the “good girl” of the bunch. She attends church, and even makes some of her own clothes. And then there's Casey, DJ's old best friend, before she moves away. Let's just say she is the “odd one” of the group.

When DJ's mom dies, DJ has to go and live with her grandmother. But what she didn't know is that her grandmother was opening up a boarding home for young girls. DJ, who would rather wear sweats and a t-shirt than the latest new trends, is expecting insufferable fashion divas. Slowly, the girls arrive one by one, and from the very beginning, learn how to live in this new “family.” Before long, the girls are acting more and more like sisters. They're laughing, sharing clothes and purses, shopping, and occasionally having their fights. But what sisters don't?

In book two, Stealing Bradford, the topic of boys becomes more and more common. Every girl in the Carter House wants a boy friend, and some will be willing to go a bit too far to get one. Rhiannon is dating Bradford, who is also a Christian, and happens to be the most popular jock in school. But when Taylor starts to “put the moves” on him, Rhiannon is stunned and hurt. Promises are broken, mistakes are made, and feelings are hurt. Some forgive, while others get even. But in the end, the girls learn what it means to be a family.

I would recommend these books to any girl of age 10-16. They can be found at any local bookstore, or online. They have an average of 200 pages, and are a very quick read. The story line is very good and keeps you guessing what will happen next. The climax keeps you on the edge of your seat. All together, this is a very well written series, and I can't wait to see what Melody Carlson comes up with for the next book!

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