Melody Carlson is quite the name in Christian fiction. With over two hundred books for teens and adults under her belt, most readers of this genre have at least heard of her books, if not read several of them (or bunches, as I have). This new series for teens, The Carter House Girls, is bound to be just as successful as her other series have been, if not more so, due to the updated societal aspects that have been thrown in.
Mixed Bags, the first title in the new series, introduces the readers to the girls residing in the Carter boarding house. Mrs. Carter is a former 60’s fashion icon and plans to run the boarding house as somewhat of an etiquette school for well-off girls. Her granddaughter, DJ, already resides in the home and is very much not what her grandmother wished for in a granddaughter. When the other girls begin showing up, loaded down with Prada purses and Louis Vuitton luggage, DJ can only hope she will make a friend or two.
As the girls get to know each other, their quirks come out and with more than one snob in the mix, things are bound to get interesting. Friendships form, as do dating relationships (not to mention those expected love/hate relationships) and life at the Carter House takes off.
I was a little worried that I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy this book as much as Carlson’s others, for the simple reason of all the “rich girl” stuff thrown in. I am not a fan of The Hills, can’t even afford a knock-off bag, let alone a real one, and my sunglasses come from the lovely racks at Walmart. The plot, however, definitely lends more to the relational aspects of the girls, making this a pretty good start to the series. My only complaint is that the concept of Christianity doesn’t make it into the book until the last quarter.
Stealing Bradford, book 2, puts boy/girl dating relationships front and center. Everyone in the Carter House is dating someone, except spoiled rotten Taylor. When she finds out that Rhiannon is dating the most popular jock in school, a fellow Christian, Taylor decides to steal Bradford away from Rhiannon, leaving a big mess in her wake. More than one girl gets her feelings hurt and Taylor brings upon a reputation she never expected.
This title includes a lot of the same product talk as Mixed Bags, though now that DJ is also a Christian, along with Rhiannon, more of the Lord comes through. Carlson’s books are great for getting the Lord’s message across to teen girls and without that aspect, the book would definitely fall flat. Realistic situations are used to describe what the Carter House girls go through and their reactions and manners of dealing with issues are, for the most part, true to life.
Fans of Carlson’s True Colors series will definitely enjoy these!