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Carter House Girls Books In Order

Publication Order of Carter House Girls Books

Mixed Bags (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Stealing Bradford (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Homecoming Queen (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Viva Vermont! (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lost in Las Vegas (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
New York Debut (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Spring Breakdown (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Last Dance (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Carter House Girls is a series of Young Adult Chick lit books written by a bestselling American author of Young Adult, Literature and Fiction novels, Melody Carlson. The series revolves around six teenage girls who live in one old 19th-century house with their retired fashion icon.

Melody Carlson began the publication of Carter House Girls series in 2008 when Mixed Bags the first novel in the series was published. Consisting of eight novels, the series ran for two years concluding in 2010 when The Last Dance was published.

Mixed Bags

Mixed Bags is the first book in Carter House Girls series. The novel introduces readers to DJ teenage girl in high school. After the recent death of her mother, DJ finds herself struggling to fit in with her dad’s new growing family. On the other hand, her grandmother Katherine Carter has started a boarding house for promising models, and even though the grieving DJ has nothing to do with modeling, she travels to live with her grandmother.

The efforts of searching for her own identity are always interfered with by her grandmother who was a prominent model in the 1960’s but is now retired. She also finds it impossible to find her own identity also due to the new girls in the house and her new boyfriend.

Along the way of this beautiful and touching story, DJ makes friends but also makes enemies- for instance; she acquires an arch-enemy, the charming and conspiring Taylor, a relationship with God through another friend and a disconnect with a good old friend.

The first book in Carter House Girls series by Melody Carlson is a light and easy read. The characters in the story are very believable, likable and anyone who’s been to high school anywhere in the world can relate to one of the girls.

The primary focus of this first novel is the Christian beliefs. The dominating Christian figure is DJ’s best friend Rhiannon, who was never a Christian when DJ met her. She exudes confidence, peace, both in her identity and the relationship with Jesus Christ and grace in personal interactions with her friends.

Rhiannon is compassionate, for when she finds DJ alone and heartbroken at a party, she takes that opportunity to DJ that is missing in her life is not her boyfriend’s approval or acceptance in the fashion industry but instead but acceptance by the Lord. DJ with the help of her friend Rhiannon, DJ prays to receive Christ and immediately experiences a difference. Rhiannon also shares with her friend with DJ that she had been praying to the Lord that God would send another believing friend and she thought it would be DJ. Other girls in the house where DJ lives all come from Christian families but none of them is Christian.

One of the girls opens subversives against her parents and also disapproves their belief system. Another girl narrates that she was raised up as a church girl and when DJ enquires if she is a Christian, the girl responds “YES” but her behaviors suggest otherwise. The Mixed Bags only features Christian belief system and no other belief system.

Katherine, DJ’s grandmother sets the rules in the house. These rules are fair and meant to protect these girls’ reputations and safety. However, she does not earn genuine respect of the girls. The girls admire her for her fashion sense but not for her maternal or leadership role.

Even for DJ, she is not respectful to her grandma, and most occasions the reader would find them arguing. Also in the readers’ eye, Katherine does not make an effort to connect with girls in a meaningful way.

When the girls get to discuss how their relationship was with their parents, they express mixed attitudes about authority. For instance, Taylor is portrayed as an independent girl throwing off any attempts or rules to control her. On the other hand, Kriti has respect for her parents, and at one point she informs DJ that if she ever finds herself in uncomfortable situ with smoking, drinking or maybe others being mean, she can call her parents to come and rescue her. Rhiannon is appreciative and respectful of her parents while Casey opens rebels against her parents.

Mixed Bags also address the theme of homosexuality, sex, and kissing. There is a misconception about condoms in a purse that angers and embarrasses DJ because they are not hers. The other girls do not consider this a big deal, and at one point Kriti confesses that she even sleeps with a boy on the first date. DJ starts to dress fashionably but with herself imposed rules. Conner, DJ’s boyfriend treats her girlfriend different according to how she portrays herself. At the first few pages of the novels when DJ is a tomboy, her boyfriend respects her, but as DJ takes more interest in her appearance, things get out of hand. DJ also has a conversation with Katherine who does not want the girls sleeping around or having unsafe sex if they have to make out. There are few occurrences in the story of underage drinking.

Stealing Bradford

Stealing Bradford is the 2nd in Carter House Girls series by Melody Carlson. The story centers on a boarding house run by a retired supermodel Katherine Carter. The 19th-century house is the home to teenage girls who are interested in modeling and fashion. Amongst the resident of this boarding house is DJ, Katherine granddaughter.

DJ is a new Christian finding her identity in Jesus Christ, understanding the requirements of being a Christian, and contemplating why many Christians do un-holy things, and also makes a biblically based decision.

Rhiannon, first introduced to the readers in Mixed Bags loses her boyfriend, Bradford. Bradford breaks up with Rhiannon so that he can date another girl in the same house, Taylor. This immediately sends the home in an uproar, because Taylor and Rhiannon are roomies, and so DJ offers to trade her room with Rhiannon. Although DJ and Taylor do not get along, DJ soon begins to sympathize with her former arch-enemy.

Fake internet photographs of Taylor shatter her and forces Taylor to run away. In the meantime, other girls at Carter House soon realize how much they care about Taylor, and soon they do something they have never done before.- Pray for Taylor’s safe return. If you like Young Adult books spiced up with Christian themes, addressing one’s relationship with God, then Carter House Girls series by Melody Carlson is the series worth your time.

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