Customer Reviews for

Mixed Bags (Carter House Girls Series)

Average Rating 4.5
( 91 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Teenage drama

This is a great book from the moment you've read the first page you just can't put it down. The characters are well introduced and developed. Just when you think you've got them down and figured out you are thrown into a whole new view most of us don't dare explore. As...
This is a great book from the moment you've read the first page you just can't put it down. The characters are well introduced and developed. Just when you think you've got them down and figured out you are thrown into a whole new view most of us don't dare explore. As it has been with teenagers since the dawn of time, the angst, the pressure, the changes... all is present and explored. For those of us who remember the teenage years or know someone in that time of their lives, there is something we can all relate to in this book. I can't wait for the rest.

posted by Anonymous on April 13, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Inappropriate and disappointing

Though this book was entertaining, I actually wouldn't want my teenage daughter reading it. There is way too much emphasis on boy/girl relationships (in fact, that's really what the whole book is about, though the author tries to incorporate other themes). I just foun...
Though this book was entertaining, I actually wouldn't want my teenage daughter reading it. There is way too much emphasis on boy/girl relationships (in fact, that's really what the whole book is about, though the author tries to incorporate other themes). I just found it a little too frank and graphic for a Christian teenage audience. And though Carlson ostensibly condemns physical relationships among teens, there sure is a lot of it that goes on in this book. The parties and teenage drinking are too glorified in my mind, though some of the characters feel slightly uncomfortable with it. It just felt like someone trying too hard to be cool with teenagers, just to get them to read the book. Also, the salvation scene at the end feels very weak, almost like a obligatory afterthought. Other than a few passing references to God, it didn't even feel like a Christian book at all. Though I had high hopes for this book, I was very disappointed!

posted by Anonymous on May 14, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    Inappropriate and disappointing

    Though this book was entertaining, I actually wouldn't want my teenage daughter reading it. There is way too much emphasis on boy/girl relationships (in fact, that's really what the whole book is about, though the author tries to incorporate other themes). I just found it a little too frank and graphic for a Christian teenage audience. And though Carlson ostensibly condemns physical relationships among teens, there sure is a lot of it that goes on in this book. The parties and teenage drinking are too glorified in my mind, though some of the characters feel slightly uncomfortable with it. It just felt like someone trying too hard to be cool with teenagers, just to get them to read the book. Also, the salvation scene at the end feels very weak, almost like a obligatory afterthought. Other than a few passing references to God, it didn't even feel like a Christian book at all. Though I had high hopes for this book, I was very disappointed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2008

    The story of a teen girl finding herself in a time of uncertainty and change

    I enjoyed this book, it was quick read and also a smooth read. DJ is a girl living with her grandmother, a woman who is an old-pro in the fashion world. The Carter House is DJ's grandmother's undertaking and is meant to teach girls manners, fashion, and social upbringing. DJ is odd-ball out amongst the high fashion teenagers Kriti, Eliza, and Taylor until Rihannon and Casey arrive. DJ learns that people change as she attempts to find herself and fill the empty space she feels inside of her. After getting into it on a regular basis with Taylor and having issues with her friend-turned-boyfriend Connor, she turns to Rihannon who turns her to God. I thought DJ finding and accepting God into her life happened rather late in the story as the it ends very quickly after this event, but hopefully the next book in the series will dwell on this topic a little more and connect it to DJ's life and current situation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2008

    Teenage drama

    This is a great book from the moment you've read the first page you just can't put it down. The characters are well introduced and developed. Just when you think you've got them down and figured out you are thrown into a whole new view most of us don't dare explore. As it has been with teenagers since the dawn of time, the angst, the pressure, the changes... all is present and explored. For those of us who remember the teenage years or know someone in that time of their lives, there is something we can all relate to in this book. I can't wait for the rest.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    a great book!

    for some reason, i didnt think this book would be good-but i was way wrong. i have read some other great melody carlson books, but the back cover didnt make it sound as good. but all the teenage girls out there should read this book! you will feel angry at some of the girls that move into the carter house, and you will feel sad for DJ when connor breaks her heart. this book is relatable to most teens and i think girls should read it as well as other melody carlson books!

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of THE BEST books I have read in a long time- definitely has the best theme of any of them

    When I first picked up this book at my library, I thought it would just be another fun, witty, YA chick-lit novel. In truth it was, but it was also much more

    I loved how much painful detailing Carlson put into the characters. You could easily see them, and know them.

    I also liked the character DJ, and how she developed throughout the story. I can relate to her, probably as a lot of girls can. She is just trying to fit in with her new "friends" and roommates. She's also been through a lot, what with her mom dying, and her father rejecting her..

    One of the things I didn't like was how some of the characters put DJ and Rhiannon down just because they don't wear designer clothes and bags and stuff like that. And they even made fun of Rhiannon because of her faith! I am a Christian, too. Someone who would do that needs serious help.

    On that note, I LOVED LOVED LOVED how DJ accepted Christ into her heart after the party. I would HIGHLY recommend this book, and I will be picking up the rest of Carlson's books soon. She is on my list of favorites now.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Mixed Bags by Melody Carlson

    This book is pretty entertaining, but make sure you have the next book in the series before reading. The ending is a cliff hanger and you will drive yourself crazy until you read the next one. Every cute story.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    6 Girls + 1 House = TROUBLE!

    If you are looking for a clean alternative to secular YA fiction, like Gossip Girl and The Clique, then this is the series for you. I adore Melody Carlson's books. I'm past the age of the intended audience, but I can read her books and still feel like they relate to my life. This series is no different. While there are rich girls in this story, the situations that they go through, seem all too familiar. The diverse cast in this book is great. It's wonderful to see this in a YA fiction book and even more so that it's being featured in a Christian fiction story. The boarding school scenario is the hot thing in YA fiction these days and it was fun to see it put to use in this book. It helps to bring out the characters and lets you get to know them better. Each girl is very different, and boy did some of them get on my nerves. Taylor and Eliza were just like girls in my high school and I felt exactly the same way DJ did. I really liked DJ. She's a great character, the "everygirl" one that most girls will be able to relate to. I really did not like DJ's grandmother. Wow, talk about superficial and self absorbent. I do not think she is the right person to be in charge of six girls. DJ manages to hold her own with her grandmother, but it's plain to see that Grandma would rather have a skinny backstabbing model who has sex and smokes than an athletic, smart, normal girl for a granddaughter.

    While those on the extreme conservative side might have problems with this book, I applaud its frankness. Unfortunately most teen girls do not live in sheltered homes where there is a Bible study and prayer time every night. A lot of girls have to go to their high school and face other teen girls who act just like Taylor. Even as a Christian, there are going to be times when teen girls are just going to get really angry and jealous of other girls. It's what being a teenager is all about. Also the relationships with the boys are very well handled and everyone acts according to their age. Sorry parents, but 16 year old girls do like boys and this is how they act around them. And I believe Melody Carlson is an expert at relating to teen girls and being able to show them realistic situations that they will understand and enjoy reading. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I truly think she is one of the best YA authors out there today. This is a series that you can pass along to a reader of secular YA and they will still enjoy it. HIGHLY recommended and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series as well.

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  • Posted December 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A fun beginning installment of a new YA series

    This story was pretty good for YA fiction. If I could imagine being in a boarding house with a bunch of different girls it might look something like this story, even though the girls in this book are rich, or at least half of them are. I enjoyed reading about Conner and DJ's developing relationship and about DJ's innocence when it came to dating. I thought the author did a good job showing how difficult it is to understand what guys are interested in. Girls always think it's about beauty but with Conner he wanted a girl he could relate to. It's got a great message about the pressures of fitting in and provides a good platform for expressing different struggles teens deal with. The polaroid picture being taken at the hairdresser was a bit outdated, though. I don't know anyone who even has a polaroid camera these days. I ordered the next three books in the series because I am very interested in reading more about Conner and DJ and finding out who gets the guy in Stealing Bradford. Of course, I'm rooting for Rhiannon. So far I like this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2008

    Great for older teens and adults!

    A great book about 6 very different teen girls who all find themselves living under one roof with a grandmother who is a former fashion icon from the 60's. The first book in this series is a introduction of the girls and their past hurts. Whether you were one of the popular girls, or a geek, I think that you will find yourself relating to one of the girls in this book. Although it had a slow start, I found myself immediately requesting book #2 in the series as soon as I finished reading Mixed Bags. I can't wait to find out what happens next with the Carter House Girls.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    A read for every middle/high school girl

    When I first started this book, I was not too sure of how I would like it. But then as I left it and went to do some other things, I realized that I kept thinking about the story, and could not get it out of my head! This is the first, I think, of Melody Carlson that I've been able to read.. meaning get my hands on. It is a great little story that should be read by all mid-high school girls. It is so real to life and it does meet up with every type of girl. You can see yourself and remember you...more When I first started this book, I was not too sure of how I would like it. But then as I left it and went to do some other things, I realized that I kept thinking about the story, and could not get it out of my head! This is the first, I think, of Melody Carlson that I've been able to read.. meaning get my hands on. It is a great little story that should be read by all mid-high school girls. It is so real to life and it does meet up with every type of girl. You can see yourself and remember your painful history within each individual girl. I was shocked when it ended, because it is one of those wonderful books that has previews of the sequel in the back, so I had though there was much more. But it was really a great story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    Terrific YA Christian title with real girls who have real problems

    Mixed Bags by Melody Carlson is the first book in the Carter House Girls series. DJ's grandmother, a former supermodel, has opened up her large Victorian home to five other girls in hopes of turning them all into debutantes. DJ is au naturel: no make-up, hair tucked up in a baseball cap, and completely ignorant of designer labels. So sharing her home and even room with girls who look like they stepped off of the pages of Vogue does a number on her self-esteem. Taylor and Eliza and beautifully dressed and self-assured. Kriti is a lovely Indian girl who wants to go far academically. Rhiannon and Casey are Grandma Carter's charity cases. Rhiannon has come to faith in spite of her mother's drug addiction. Casey's parents believe she's in need of an intervention with the safety pins through her eyebrows and Goth style make-up. Throwing all of these girls into one house ensures plenty of drama and clashing personalities. I am thoroughly impressed with Zondervan's willingness to attack real teenage issues head on. Some of these girls are sexually active, one smokes, some drink these are not your stereotypical Christian fiction teens. They break the rules and each other without a second thought. But Carlson gives each girl a real personality with quirks and failings. We see events primarily though DJ's eyes, and she struggles with figuring out who she is and want she really wants, just like every other real world teen. This promising introduction to the series definitely leaves the reader wanting more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    Good for teenagers

    The first installment in the Carter House Girls series is an interesting and unique teenage novel. It follows the lives of six teenage girls as they begin the life-changing task of moving to a boarding house and learning to live together, specifically from the point of view of DJ, Mrs. Carter¿s granddaughter. I found the book to be different take on the teenage angst of girls coming of age. There is the obligatory dating and cat-fighting that accompanies sixteen-year-old girls. However, there is also a refreshing presentation of the gospel through how Christ has changed one of the girls. It is realistic and not sugar-sweet. There are some alcohol and sex references, but it is not inappropriate for the targeted age group. Overall, this book is a good, entertaining read. I look forward to the rest of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    A Good Read

    I think Mixed Bags is appropriate for teenage girls. However, I think girls ages 16 on up should be reading this book. I think it's a little too much for girls younger than that. The main character and her friends are confronted with drinking and dating. The main character however tends to rise above the underage drinking and rethinks her actions with her boyfriend from the night before. I feel the main character becomes a christain kind of out of nowhere. I would have liked her to have a little more thought about what she was considering. However, it sounds like those issues are addressed in future books. This book is an easy read and would be great entertainment for any teenage girl..in fact I'm 40 years old and I want to know what happens next!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    Carter House, home to half a dozen fashionably unique teens

    Melody Carlson strikes gold with Mixed Bags, her first book in the Carter House Girls teen fiction series. With a refreshing twist she weaves classic teen pressures and predicaments into a contemporary storyline. When six girls, each carrying their own ¿designer¿ bag and signature personality live under the same roof, you¿ve got a catwalk showcasing outrageous colour and style. No carbon copies here, but there are preconceived labels that need to be torn off and investigated. All six girls represent a stereotype that resides in every high school. We have Taylor the rich, spoiled, mean diva, the trendy but good-natured Eliza, Asian princess Kriti, angry nice girl turned rebel Casey, Rhiannon the sugar-sweet, goody-good Christian, and DJ the wholesome tomboy. Carter House, the boarding school run by DJ¿s fashion icon grandmother is where they meet, share, fight and grow. Stitched between lessons in social grace and eye-catching loveliness are the life-threads that clothe young ladies with character and integrity. Spun together they make more than a fashion statement. Where to draw the line, and take a stand when it comes to drinking, gossiping, envy, revenge, and sex take on real life drama with believable characters and common tempting situations. What would appear on the surface as a superficial obsession with appearance, Mixed Bags sensitively deals with the teenage paradox of forging one¿s own identity while desperately longing to fit it. With romance as the key, Mixed Bags unlocks the shackles that immobilize a healthy self-image. Looking your best is not selling out. But being trapped by what you see in the mirror as the measure of your worth comes with an exorbitant price tag. The pay-off for the reader is revealed in the gorgeous truth: true beauty is a reflection of the real you. This book begs you to keep reading at the turn of every page. The writing is captivating and the characters have depth and dimension. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can¿t wait to start Book 2, Stealing Bradford and check in with the custom-made girls growing up together at Carter House. Melody Carlson strikes gold with Mixed Bags, her first book in the Carter House Girls teen fiction series. With a refreshing twist she weaves classic teen pressures and predicaments into a contemporary storyline. When six girls, each carrying their own ¿designer¿ bag and signature personality live under the same roof, you¿ve got a catwalk showcasing outrageous colour and style. No carbon copies here, but there are preconceived labels that need to be torn off and investigated. All six girls represent a stereotype that resides in every high school. We have Taylor the rich, spoiled, mean diva, the trendy but good-natured Eliza, Asian princess Kriti, angry nice girl turned rebel Casey, Rhiannon the sugar-sweet, goody-good Christian, and DJ the wholesome tomboy. Carter House, the boarding school run by DJ¿s fashion icon grandmother is where they meet, share, fight and grow. Stitched between lessons in social grace and eye-catching loveliness are the life-threads that clothe young ladies with character and integrity. Spun together they make more than a fashion statement. Where to draw the line, and take a stand when it comes to drinking, gossiping, envy, revenge, and sex take on real life drama with believable characters and common tempting situations. What would appear on the surface as a superficial obsession with appearance, Mixed Bags sensitively deals with the teenage paradox of forging one¿s own identity while desperately longing to fit it. With romance as the key, Mixed Bags unlocks the shackles that immobilize a healthy self-image. Looking your best is not selling out. But being trapped by what you see in the mirror as the measure of your worth comes with an exorbitant price tag. The pay-off for the reader is revealed in the gorgeous truth: true beauty is a reflection of the real you. This book begs you to keep readi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    Frank, Honest, Will speak to teens

    This is a frank, honest book dealing with normal teenage issues, with clothes, boys, relationships with girls, temptations, and family interactions. It is a fun book that as it deals with these issues, never glamorizes them, it rather focuses on coming to terms with these issues in light of how it fits in with Christianity. This is a series and the main character DJ, came to accept Christ towards the end of this book. I look forward to seeing how she deals with her new life in Christ in her old world. It is a bit 'harder' than some people might be comfortable with, but from working with teens, they want something that engages them, speaks to issues they deal with in a real way without preaching. A good book for the older teen in your life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    Loved this one

    IT was a very good book and so true tolife to a group of rich teenage girls mixed with common girls.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2008

    Great book for teens and adults!

    The first book in the Carter House Girls series was terrific. I loved the many different and well developed characters that are in this book. I think its great that girls from all walks of life were included. It was a little shorter than I would have liked and she did come to find Christ a little too fast for me. I do look forward to reading the next installment and finding out what happens next to the Carter House girls!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    When I got a copy of Mixed Bags I gave it to my 11 year old who loves to read. About a third of the way into the book my daughter lost interest in it. She told her herself that she thought it was for older girls because it talked a lot about boys, which she currently has no interest in. So I picked up the book to read it myself. This book is certainly for older teens. I would say maybe 15 or older. The book is well written and easy to read. The characters are interesting and I think many young adults will be able to relate to some of the characters personally. The girls in the house deal with issues that many young adults face. I think this book is a great way to introduce more books in the series. I was surprised how the book ended how it did but I guess that is what will keep readers interested and anxious for the next installment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    Outstanding Book!

    This book is great for teenagers. It is about 6 girls whom move into the 'Carter House' which is run by an older women who was a model when she was young. The girls come from all back grounds of life. Desiree better known by 'DJ' is a tomboy whose grandmother owns and runs the Carter House. Eliza is rich, very nice, and her parents live in France. Taylor is also rich but mean, she drinks and loves to party. Her mom was a Latin singer and very popular. Rhiannon is a Christain who is very sweet and makes the best out of all situations. Krita is sweet, her father owns a business where he sells 'knock offs' purses and items, for a tenth of the price of the real name brands. Casey is a girl who wears black, has piercings in her eyebrows and other places. She is bitter with life and what it has thrown her direction. These girls are learning to get along with each other and the difference between them. Any teenager will love this book and I am sure will want to get the next book in the series! I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book really describes the lives of teenagers. It deals with situations such as cliques, fashion, and boys. I really loved reading this book and cannot wait to read the second one! Having been on both ends of a clique, I relate more with DJ. I especially think that teenage girls who read this book will find a character that she can relate to~

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