Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped

Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped

3.8 20
by Melody Carlson

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All of Emily’s friends seem so perfect: skinny and pretty and fun and flirty. Emily loathes her slightly overweight body, and as her secret bitterness begins to eat away at her soul, she faces the dark prospect of developing an eating disorder.The ninth book in the TrueColor teen fiction series, Faded Denim takes a serious look at the important

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All of Emily’s friends seem so perfect: skinny and pretty and fun and flirty. Emily loathes her slightly overweight body, and as her secret bitterness begins to eat away at her soul, she faces the dark prospect of developing an eating disorder.The ninth book in the TrueColor teen fiction series, Faded Denim takes a serious look at the important issues of body image and eating disorders. Includes discussion questions.

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TrueColors Series
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414 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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Faded Denim

Color Me Trapped
By Melody Carlson


Copyright © 2006 Melody Carlson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-57683-537-5

Chapter One

My best friend is so skinny. I hate her. No, not really. I love her. No, I hate her. The truth is, I think I hate myself. And I hate feeling like this-like I am fat and ugly and like I am a total Loser with a capital L. It makes me sick.

But here's what really gets me - the thing that makes me just scratch my head and go huh? When did all this happen? When did I fall asleep and get abducted by the body-switchers who did some mean sci-fi number on me and transformed me into this-this repulsive blob girl? I mean, I didn't use to be like this. Back in middle school, I was superthin. Okay, maybe I was just average thin, but my best friend, Leah, was ... hmm ... shall we say somewhat pudgy, slightly overweight, a bit obese, downright chubby.

This is the deal: When I was about thirteen, I had already reached my height, which is about five seven (that is, if I stand extremely straight and stretch my neck until I hear my spinal column popping). Meanwhile, Leah was about four inches shorter and twenty pounds heavier than me. She was a regular little roly-poly back then. But in the past couple of years she got really tall. And now she's like five ten or maybe taller, and she's as skinny as a stick. So sickeningly skinny that clothes look absolutely fantastic on her. And it just makes me wanna pull my hair out and scream! Or just disappear.

Okay, to be fair (to me) I wouldn't feel so miserable about all this if Leah wasn't so obsessed with weight and diet and exercise and health that she's constantly throwing the whole thing in my face, saying stuff like, "Emily, are you sure you want to eat that Snickers bar since it has like five hundred calories that will probably end up sitting right on your thighs?" And when she says things like that it not only makes me want to pig out on the Snickers bar but to go grab a giant-sized bag of Cheetos as well. Like super-size me, please!

But that's not the only problem. I mean, since she got all tall and thin (and did I mention gorgeous?), she's become obsessed with fashion and beauty tricks and the latest styles. Leah studies all the fashion rags (which naturally feature these tall, bony, weird-looking models who really do look a bit like aliens if you ask me-probably a real product of the body-switchers), and she has recently decided that she actually wants to become one of them. At first I thought she was kidding.

"You seriously would want to put yourself in that position?" I asked her, incredulous. "I mean you want perfect strangers gaping at your body while you strut around in some weird and skimpy outfit, possibly with no underwear on?"

"I think it'd be cool." And the mind-boggling part is that she really believes she could make it as a fashion runway model-who, according to her, are the ones who make the megabucks. Although I've also heard that lots of them wind up strung out on drugs, burned out, and just generally messed up.

"That doesn't happen to everyone," she told me. "Those are just the girls who make the news and the tabloids, and then everyone assumes the whole fashion industry is at fault. And that's not fair."

Of course, it doesn't help matters that her aunt is a pretty well-known fashion photographer in New York City, or that she actually thinks Leah may "have what it takes." Although I'm sure aunts are a lot like moms, easily duped into thinking their kids "have what it takes" to do just about anything. Yeah, right.

"Okay, what does it take?" I asked Leah several weeks ago. (This was shortly after she convinced me to go on this stupid cabbage-soup diet that was guaranteed to "take off a few pounds" but in reality nearly ended up killing me. I ended up in the john for like an entire afternoon-what a fun diet!)

"What does it take to be a runway model?" She pressed her unfairly full lips together as she considered my question. "Well, it obviously takes some height and, of course, you have to be pretty thin ... and you need good bone structure, even features ... and then, of course, you need to have that special something."

"Special something," I said hopefully. Now, I may not look like a runway model, but I am good at making friends and making them laugh. Some people think that's pretty special. Naturally, I don't say this.

"Yeah, kind of like personality. Only more than that. It has to be something that cameras can catch, especially if you're going the print route. Or you need that something extra that shows from the runway-an attitude, you know. You gotta be able to strut your stuff and make people want what you have."

"Right." I nodded as if I understood, but more and more it feels like Leah is speaking a foreign language and I am struggling just to keep up.

"I get to see my portfolio shots on Friday afternoon," she told me a few days ago. "Want to go with me to pick them out?"

"Sure," I offered, having absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.

So here we are at this fancy-schmancy modeling agency where all the girls are tall, thin, and fabulous, and I feel like a creature from another planet-the planet where the body-switchers dwell. Uranus, perhaps.

"Ooh," gushes Becca (a Scandinavian-looking blonde). She seems to know Leah and has just joined us to look at the photos. "That's totally scrumptious, Leah." Becca is pointing a perfectly sculpted nail to a shot of Leah, which in my opinion is exposing way too much cleavage, but naturally I don't mention this. I just stand there where these glossy photos are spread all over a counter and try to keep up.

Mostly I wish that I could blend in with the aluminum-looking wallpapered walls, which in reality must make me stand out even more in my "fat" jeans (okay, I was bloated today). I also have on this old hoody sweatshirt that is baggy enough to cover a multitude of sins, although I'm sure it simply makes me look like a cow. I try to shrink away from these two girls, seriously wishing I could just vanish.

"Is there, uh, a restroom around?" I ask meekly.

"Yeah," Leah jerks her thumb to the left. "Down that hallway, on the right."

And then I slink away, feeling dumpy and dowdy and just plain pathetic. I consider leaving this plastic place and going home, except that Leah is the one who drove us here and I can't exactly steal her car, although I do know where her spare key is hidden in its little magnetic box under the right fender. But instead of committing grand larceny, I just go into the bathroom and spend enough time there to make someone think I have a serious bowel disorder. I sit in a stall and read a fashion magazine that someone left on the counter. Okay, call me a glutton for punishment.

When I finally glance at my watch, I see it's nearly five o'clock. I'm hopeful that this place may be closing soon so I can get out of this stupid bathroom and we can go home and I can forget about all this. I emerge from the john and take an inordinate amount of time washing my hands, the whole while staring at my pitifully disappointing reflection.

These are what I would call very unforgiving lights-a garishly bright strip right above the enormous mirror. I'm sure it's been put there so that models can come in here and carefully examine themselves to detect every miniscule flaw (like they have any), and then I'm sure they do their best to address these minor blips before their next big photo shoot. But as I stand here gaping at my lackluster reflection, my dull brown hair (which needs washing), and my boring brown eyes, I suddenly notice a new zit about to erupt on my chin. I want to cry.

"God, why am I so ugly?" I actually mutter out loud, quickly glancing over my shoulder toward the three stalls to see if any feet (which would be shod in the coolest footwear, I'm certain) are present. Thank goodness there are not.

I silently continue my line of questioning. I really was addressing God, not taking his name in vain. I ask my maker what he could've been thinking when he made a loser like me.

Why do I look like this? Why is my nose too long? Why am I short and fat? Why is my hair plain and brown-maybe I should consider highlighting it like Leah suggested. Why am I so boring and blah and mousy looking? Why? Why? Why?

"Hey, Emily," says Leah as she comes in with a big, black folder, which I assume is her portfolio. "I've been looking for you. Are you okay?"

I blink back what threaten to become real tears and force a smile. "Yeah, I'm fine. What's up?"

She looks more closely at me now. "Seriously, are you okay?"

I stand up straighter. "I'm fine."

She nods but still looks concerned. "Becca helped me to pick out the photos, but you were in here so long that I got worried you might be sick or something-"

"Like when you tried to poison me with your cabbage soup?" I try to sound light.

She frowns. "I told you I was sorry, Emily. I never meant for you to get sick. You're the one who said you wanted to take off a few pounds. I think you look fine."

Fine compared to what, I wonder, a water buffalo? But instead of saying this, I point to her portfolio. "So, are they really great? Going to launch your big career in New York?"

She laughs. "Not quite. But it's a start. LaMar says that he might have a job for me next weekend." She kind of smirks. "Okay, it's only a Mother's Day fashion show, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?"

I nod. "Yeah. That's great, Leah. Congratulations!"

She drives me home, gushing about how cool the agency is, and then she changes gears and starts telling me about this new cream that Becca was just telling her about that's supposed to make your thighs thinner.

"Hey, maybe you should try it!" she says, turning and looking at me as if I might be some kind of science experiment for her and her new model pals.

"Try what?" I say, pretending that I wasn't really listening. I had been partially daydreaming-or maybe I just want to appear slightly brain dead when it comes to all her mind-numbing beauty talk.

"That thigh cream." Then she goes on to tell me what it's called and how you have to get it online and on and on and on.

I am so thankful when she gets to my house. "Thanks," I tell her, wondering what exactly I'm thanking her for. The ride or the torture?

"Oh, wait," she says suddenly. "I almost forgot to tell you something." Now she has this mysterious expression on her face, like she's got some big secret. Despite my wanting to escape her, I am pulled in.


"In all the excitement of getting my photos this afternoon, I almost forgot to tell you about Brett McEwen."

"What about Brett McEwen?"

"He asked me to prom!" She shrieks loudly enough that everyone in my neighborhood has probably heard her.

"No way!" The truth is, this really is shocking news. I mean, Brett McEwen is a pretty cool guy. And not only is he cool, he's fairly nice too. But he's never really given Leah (or me) a real second look before. Sure, he says hey to us and even chats with us now and then (which I assume he feels compelled to do since we all go to the same youth group), but asking Leah to prom? Well, this is mindblowing.

She nods, grinning and exposing her perfectly straight teeth, which she got whitened right after the braces came off last fall. "Way!"

"Wow." I just shake my head in amazement.

"I am so totally jazzed. I can hardly believe it!"

"Yeah, I can imagine." And the sad thing is that I can imagine. I mean, I've imagined myself going out with Brett McEwen, not to prom, since that's too much even for my imagination, but just someplace ordinary. He's been my secret (like really, really secret-even-Leah-doesn't-know-it secret) crush since freshman year. He leads worship in our youth group and I'm sure, being totally honest here, he's one of the reasons I keep going back. Maybe even one of the reasons that I got into playing guitar.

"At first I actually thought he was teasing me," she's telling me now. "I said, 'Okay, Brett, don't be stringing me along here. I know that you can't be serious.'"

"But he was?"

"Yes! He said that he'd been thinking about asking me out for a few months now, but that he couldn't get up the nerve." She shrieks again. "The nerve! Can you believe that? Like he was intimidated by me?"

"Well, you are trying to become a supermodel, Leah. Maybe the word's getting around that you're hot."

She laughs so loudly that her classic snort comes out. "Yeah, right. Last year's nerd girl finally thinks she's got it together."

"You weren't exactly last year's nerd girl," I protest.

"No, just brace-faced, kinky-haired, gangly, big-footed Leah Clark. Not exactly Jessica Simpson if you know what I mean."

"Well, the ugly ducking has turned into a swan," I say, trying to sound more positive than I feel.

Her smile grows even bigger. "Sometimes I can't even believe it myself, Emily. It's like I look in the mirror and I have to pinch myself."

"I'll bet."

"Not that I'm perfect." I lean half in and half out of her Honda, and my back is starting to ache from this frozen position. "I mean, especially after looking at some of those photos today." She makes a face. "Some of them were really awful. But like Becca said, it's a good way to see the things that need to be addressed."


"Yeah." She nods with enthusiasm. "You know, like with the right makeup or airbrushing and maybe even a little surgery, little nip and tuck, you know."

"Like I'm sure, Leah. Why on earth would you ever consider surgery?"

"Hey, I'm thinking about it. But I have to talk to Aunt Cassie first."

"What could you possibly need surgery for?" I ask.

"A breast reduction. Duh."

I blink and then look at her chest. "But why?"

"Because they're too big, silly."

"They're not that big, Leah. What are you? Like a B cup?"

She laughs. "I wish. No, I'm actually a C. Can you believe it? I mean like last year I could barely fill a double A. And it's not like I've put on any weight either. In fact I weigh less now than I did as a sophomore. Grandma Morris says it's genetics, from her side of the family. I guess my mom had a set of big girls too. Not that I can remember that ..." Leah sighs.

Her mom died when she was six. I can barely remember her myself. But I can't help but wonder what her mother would think of her daughter wanting to get breast-reduction surgery when she's only seventeen. I know my mom would totally freak. But then she didn't even want me to get my ears pierced. Fortunately, I talked her into it, but not until I turned sixteen. Talk about old-fashioned!

"Well, let me know what your aunt says," I say, standing up now. "And if you want my opinion, I say don't do it."

She laughs. "Yeah, big surprise there, Em."

"Seriously," I tell her. "I've seen models who've gotten implants just so that they can be as big as you. Why would you want to go the other direction? I mean, you look great, Leah." Then I laugh. "If you don't believe me, maybe you should ask Brett. I'm sure he'd have an opinion."

Now she gets a serious look. "Do not tell anyone about this conversation," she warns me. "Besides, if I do it, it won't be until summer. And I don't want anyone to know. Okay?"

I dramatically press a forefinger to my lips. "Mum's the word."


"But just for the record, Leah, I think your boobs are perfectly fine!" Then I slam the door and head up to my house. Breast-reduction surgery! Get real.

Okay, as I open the front door I am starting to feel angry. Really, really angry. I'm not sure whether I'm angry at Leah for being so skinny and gorgeous and having a prom date with Brett, or just angry at myself for not. Or maybe I'm angry at God for making me like this in the first place. But as I stomp up the stairs to my room I seriously feel like breaking something!


Excerpted from Faded Denim by Melody Carlson Copyright © 2006 by Melody Carlson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anna21 More than 1 year ago
I read Faded Denim by Melody Carlson. I came across this book in our school library as a was looking for a book or my english class. It was an amazing book and it was a great inspirational book that had many themes portrayed such as finding your inner self and having self confidence. I would recommend this book to any high school girl because it tells a story that a lot of girls go through.
It starts off talking about Emily and how when she was thirteen or fourteen how she had the perfect body but as she got older she gained weight opposed to her friends. Her best friend Leah is tall, skinny and gorgeous. Emily wanted to be jsut like her but she never had the determination to set out and do it the right way. Leah then leaks out the secret that she wants to become a model and Emily gets mad at her and wants nothing to do with it. Leah then gets offered to go to a Christian modeling camp but cannot go unless Emily can go with her. Unwillingly, Emily goes just so that Leah can have the opportunity to attend. When Emily arrives she feels so out of place because everyone is just like Leah, skinny, tall and drop dead gorgeous. She then decides that she should lose weight so she could fit in to that crowd. She notices how the girls are losing the weight so fast and she takes up that habit too. Leah tries to get her to do it the right way but Emily wants to lose a lot fast. Leah does not have this problem but she does have a choice that she soon regrets. In the end Leah and Emily are still both there for each other and are just as clost as they always had been.
Overall, I would rate this book on a scale of one to ten, a nine. It was an awesome book. It showed how Emily and Leah trusted in God to help them through their problems. This author has a series of books that I will continue to read because I enjoyed this book so much!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Emily is a senior in high school who grew up to be obese. Her biggest peer was her best friend, Leah. Leah was skinny and beautiful and on her way to the model life. At school one day, Emily told Leah that she is fat. Fat, overweight, obese, and that she is not happy about it. Leah then made Emily her ¿Swan Project¿, aka: she was going to transform her into a skinnier and more beautiful girl. Emily thought she was up to the challenge, until after working so hard she only lost three pounds. Leah assured her this was good. Although Emily had a goal to look marvelous for her senior year at the end of the summer, and three pounds off every two weeks wasn¿t going to cut it. So, Emily began a very dangerous routine eat lots, and then force yourself to puke it back up. She became anorexic. Emily goes through obstacles at a modeling school, and a church came where she faces not being accepted for her weight. She is in desperate need of help whether from family, friends, kids, or God. She needs to find the right way to turn her life back around. I liked everything about the book, especially how much you learn from it. You will learn informative stuff, and things about life. Before reading the book I didn¿t really know much about anorexia. But Faded Denim taught me a lot about it, and how people become anorexic. Also I loved how there was many different people and personalities throughout the book. It also has a good amount of drama in it, and includes Emily finding a boyfriend. I cannot think of any bad things about this book, everything was good. Faded Denim is party of the color series by Melody Carlson. You don¿t have to read any other books before this one, they¿re all separate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TWJ_Magazine More than 1 year ago
Emily Foster is a bit overweight, and she is painfully aware of it. Though her mom is seemingly oblivious to her weight problems, her dad teases Emily about her “baby fat,” and looks disapprovingly on whatever she chooses eat. To make matters even worse, her best friend is an aspiring model, which only causes Emily to feel more self-conscious. Leah has what Emily considers a perfect body, exactly what Emily wishes she could be - tall and thin. Tired of her insecurity, Emily decides that is it time for a change. Her “swan project,” meant to be a way to boost her “ugly duckling” body image, may actually end up causing her more damage than good. Although Emily’s desire to become healthy isn’t an entirely bad thing, she unfortunately decides to take drastic measures to achieve her goal of becoming thin. Her so-called “diet” is actually a dangerous mixture of bulimia and anorexia nervosa. She first attempts binge eating, then rids her body of the food by “purging,” or forcing herself to throw it all up. After discovering that her bulimia can be hard to hide from others, she decides to barely eat anything while exercising as much as she can. Even though this book focuses specifically on the health consequences of eating disorders, it also explores the dangers of cosmetic surgery. When two of Emily’s model friends, Leah and Becca, must struggle with the damage they have caused their bodies, Emily realizes that she must stop before it is too late. Emily soon discovers that eating disorders are not only physical battles over the body, they are also internal, spiritual battles. She can only conquer it when she realizes that she doesn’t need to rely on herself alone, but can trust in God’s help, and find her self confidence in Him. When she finally comes clean about her addiction to extreme and harmful dieting, she can truly begin to heal. (The Wordsmith Journal strives to guide readers to books of personal interest, with the understanding and respect that what appeals to some may not appeal to others. Therefore we attempt to keep our reviews focused on content, genre and style. The rating is necessary to make use of Goodreads and Amazon. It reflects the reviewer’s own level of enjoyment, but the review is intended to be informative for the benefit of all readers.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and it was awesome. I think that all people would like it. You do not even have to read them in order! I started reading the series when one of my friends told me about them, and now i am hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ABSOLUTLY LOVE the True Color Series. Over time i have collected all of them. This one is one that i think is the most inspirational. If you are going through a hard time with an eating disorder, feeling fat, religion, or just need a good read, you must read it! Astonishing!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. It was real--no fakey stuff. It tells of Emily's struggle with her weight. She uses God but also things she shouldn't. A heartfelt book I really enjoyed. :)
blue98eyes More than 1 year ago
This was a great book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very good. It's real, not glitter-y, or sugar-coated. It took me about a day to read. I couldn't put it down. I also have struggled with my weight, and this book showed me that you can't just go stick you finger down your throat and throw up, to lose weight (In a healthy way that is). You have to pray and ask God for help. I would say that anyone that has struggled with weight or body issues needs to read this book. It made me cry and laugh. I enjoyed this very much. And I hope others readers do too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Emily¿s friends are all skinny. Her best friend Leah is on her way to be America¿s Next Top Model. Literally. Emily used to always be skinny in her life. She could eat anything she wanted and still stayed skinny. Now it is the other way around. Emily¿s friend Leah became skinny while Emily became overweight. And if she keeps it up, maybe even obesity. Now Emily is jealous of her friend and she decides she wants to do something about it. Emily tries the new diet her friend gave her, but Emily thought that it wasn¿t working. She wasn¿t loosing enough weight to look absolutely fantastic like she used to look. Emily also wanted to look good for when school started so she could impress her crush, Brett McEwen. Emily is now on her way to being anorexia and she exercises too much. Emily knows its bad for her but will she quit? Can Emily force herself to eat again? Will Emily¿s body be affected at all? Read Faded Denim and find out what happens to Emily. What I liked about the book was book was that it tells you a lot about anorexia and what it does to your body. You can learn a lot of interesting things. I also liked how the included God a lot threw out the book. Praying to God was an important role in this book. This book is part of the Color Me Series by Melody Carlson. The book can be read without reading any previous book. I would recommend this book more to girls. It has a lot of girly parts to the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever worried about your appearance? Or worried about what other people thought of you? Then Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped is a good book for you. Emily is an average girl, may weigh a little more than average, but she is still your typical high school junior. She wouldn¿t worry so much about her weight if her best friend Leah wasn¿t so skinny. In fact Leah actually wants to become a model, and thinks she has what it takes. When you read Faded Denim, you will find yourself on a journey as two girls take beauty to many unnecessary extremes. I really enjoyed this book because it seemed so real. It felt like this could really be happening to your best friend. That is how well I could relate to it. The book started out at a fast pace and kept that going to the very last page. This book is part of the True Colors series, but you do not need to read the series in order. Any girl, of any age, could enjoy this book, especially if you are not exactly part of the ¿in¿ crowd. So now go find the nearest library, check out Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped and start reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like this book Faded Denim. It is a great book that tells about a girl that wants to be prettier than she is. It is an excellent book for an insecure teen.