Mixed Bags

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Overview

With six teenage girls living under one roof, things are bound to get interesting. Mix six teenaged girls and one ’60s fashion icon (retired, of course) in an old Victorian-era boarding home. Add guys and dating, a little high-school angst, and huge personalities … and you’ve got the Carter House Girls.

When her mom died, DJ was forced to move in with her grandmother, internationally famous ’60s fashion model Katherine Carter. Now Mrs. Carter’s opened a boarding home for young ...

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Mixed Bags

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Overview

With six teenage girls living under one roof, things are bound to get interesting. Mix six teenaged girls and one ’60s fashion icon (retired, of course) in an old Victorian-era boarding home. Add guys and dating, a little high-school angst, and huge personalities … and you’ve got the Carter House Girls.

When her mom died, DJ was forced to move in with her grandmother, internationally famous ’60s fashion model Katherine Carter. Now Mrs. Carter’s opened a boarding home for young ladies, and DJ—who would rather wear her basketball uniform than haute couture—is sure they’ll all be unbearable fashion snobs. One by one, the girls arrive and begin to figure out how to fit into this new family, getting to know each other and forming friendships. Sure, there’s an aspiring diva or two, but before long, the Carter House girls are dating, fighting, laughing, shopping, and sharing clothes, purses, shoes … not to mention their deepest secrets. DJ might not turn into the perfect little lady her grandmother has in mind, but one thing’s for certain—with all these new “sisters,” her life will never be the same!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310747567
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Series: Carter House Girls Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 632,107
  • Age range: 13 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. Before publishing, Melody traveled around the world, volunteered in teen ministry, taught preschool, raised two sons, and worked briefly in interior design and later in international adoption. "I think real-life experiences inspire the best fiction," she says. Her wide variety of books seems to prove this theory.

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Read an Excerpt


Mixed Bags

By Melody Carlson Zondervan
Copyright © 2008
Melody Carlson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-71488-0


Chapter One "DESIREE," CALLED INEZ as she knocked on the other side of the closed bedroom door. "Mrs. Carter wants to see you downstairs."

"The name is DJ."

"I'm sorry, but your grandmother has instructed me to call you Desiree."

DJ opened the door and looked down on the short and slightly overweight middle-aged housekeeper. "And I have instructed you to call me DJ."

Inez's dark eyes twinkled as she gave her a sly grin. "Yes, but it's your grandmother who pays my salary, Desiree. I take orders from Mrs. Carter. And she wants to see you downstairs in her office, pronto."

DJ grabbed her favorite Yankees ball cap and shoved it onto her head, pulling her scraggly looking blonde ponytail through the hole in the back of it.

"You're wearing that?" asked Inez with a frown. "You know what your grandmother says about -"

"Look," said DJ. "My grandmother might pay you to take orders from her, but I'm a free agent. Got that?"

Inez chuckled. "I got that. But you're the one who'll be getting it before too long, Desiree."

"DJ," she growled as she tromped loudly down the curving staircase. Why had she let Dad talk her into living with her grandmother for her last two years of high school? She'd only been here since last spring, late into the school year, but long enough to know that it was nearly unbearable. Boarding school would be better than this. At least she'd have a little privacy there and no one constantly riding her - telling her how to act, walk, look, and think. She wished there were some way, short of running away (which would be totally stupid), out of this uncomfortable arrangement.

"There you are," said Grandmother when DJ walked into the office. Her grandmother frowned at her ball cap and then pasted what appeared to be a very forced smile onto her collagen- injected lips. "I want you to meet a new resident." She made a graceful hand movement, motioning to where an attractive and somewhat familiar-looking Latina woman was sitting next to a fashionably dressed girl who seemed to be about DJ's age, but could probably pass for older. The girl was beautiful. Even with the scowl creasing her forehead, it was obvious that this girl was stunning. Her skin was darker than her mother's, latte-colored and creamy. Her long black hair curled softly around her face. She had high cheekbones and dramatic eyes.

DJ noticed her grandmother smiling her approval on this unhappy- looking girl. But the girl looked oblivious as she fiddled with the gold chain of what looked like an expensive designer bag. Not that DJ was an expert when it came to fashion. The woman stood politely, extending her hand to DJ.

"I'd like to present my granddaughter, Desiree Lane." Grandmother turned back to DJ now, the approval evaporating from her expression. "Desiree, this is Ms. Perez and her daughter Taylor."

DJ shook the woman's hand and mumbled, "Nice to meet you." But the unfriendly daughter just sat in the leather chair, one long leg elegantly crossed over the other, as she totally ignored everyone in the room.

Grandmother continued speaking to DJ, although DJ suspected this little speech was for Taylor's mother. "Ms. Perez and I first met when my magazine featured her for her illustrious music career. Her face graced our cover numerous times over the years. Perhaps you've heard of Eva Perez."

The woman smiled. "Or perhaps not," she said in a voice that was as smooth as honey. "According to my daughter, kids in your age group don't comprise even a minuscule part of my fan base."

DJ smiled at the woman now. "Actually, I have heard of you, Ms. Perez. My mom used to play your CDs. She was a serious Latin jazz fan."

"Was?" She frowned. "I hope her taste in music hasn't changed. I need all the fans I can get these days."

Grandmother cleared her throat. "Desiree's mother - my daughter - was killed in a car accident about a year ago."

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

DJ sort of nodded. She never knew how to react when people said they were sorry about the loss of her mother. It wasn't as if it were their fault.

"Desiree," said Grandmother, "Would you mind giving Taylor a tour of the house while I go over some business details with her mother?"

"No problem."

Grandmother's recently Botoxed forehead creased ever so slightly, and DJ knew that, once again, she had either said the wrong thing, used bad grammar, or was slumping like a "bag of potatoes." Nothing she did ever seemed right when it came to her grandmother. "And after the tour, perhaps you could show Taylor to her room."

"Which room?" asked DJ, feeling concerned. Sure, Taylor might be a perfectly nice person, even if a little snobbish, but DJ was not ready for a roommate just yet.

"The blue room, please. Inez has already taken some of Taylor's bags up for her. Thank you, Desiree."

Feeling dismissed as well as disapproved of, DJ led their reluctant new resident out to the foyer. "Well, you've probably already seen this." DJ waved her arm toward the elegant front entrance with its carved double doors and shining marble floor and Persian rug. She motioned toward the ornate oak staircase. "And that's where the bedrooms are, but we can see that later." She walked through to the dining room. "This is where we chow down." She pointed to the swinging doors. "The kitchen's back there, but the cook, Clara, can be a little witchy about trespassers." DJ snickered. "Besides, my grandmother does not want her girls to spend much time in the kitchen anyway."

"Like that's going to be a problem," said Taylor, the first words she'd spoken since meeting DJ.

"Huh?" said DJ.

"I don't imagine anyone is going to be exactly pigging out around here. I mean aren't we all supposed to become famous models or something?" asked Taylor as she examined a perfectly manicured thumbnail.

DJ frowned. "Well, my grandmother did edit one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world, but I don't think that means we're all going to become famous models. I know I'm not."

Taylor peered curiously at her. "Why not? You've got the height, the build, and you're not half bad looking ... well, other than the fact that you obviously have absolutely no style." She sort of laughed, but not with genuine humor. "But then you've got your grandmother to straighten that out for you."

DJ just shook her head. "I think my grandmother will give up on me pretty soon. Especially when the others get here. She'll have girls with more promise to set her sights on." At least that was what DJ was hoping.

"Has anyone else arrived?"

"Not yet." DJ continued the tour. "This is the library." She paused to allow Taylor to look inside the room and then moved on. "And that's the sunroom, or observatory, as Grandmother calls it." She laughed. "Hearing her talk about this house sometimes reminds me of playing Clue."

"What?"

"You know, the murder game, like where Colonel Mustard kills Mrs. Peacock with a wrench in the observatory."

"Oh, I never played that."

"Right ..." Then DJ showed Taylor the large living room, the most modern space in the house. Grandmother had put this room together shortly after deciding to take on her crazy venture. Above the fireplace hung a large flat-screen TV, which was connected to a state-of-the-art DVD and sound system. This was encircled by some comfortable pieces of leather furniture, pillows, and throws.

"Not bad," admitted Taylor.

"Welcome back to the twenty-first century."

"Do you have wireless here?"

"Yeah. I told Grandmother it was a necessity for school."

"Good."

"This house has been in our family for a long time," said DJ as she led Taylor up the stairs. "But no one has lived here for the past twenty years. My grandmother had it restored after she retired a couple of years ago." DJ didn't add that her grandmother had been forced to retire due to her age (a carefully guarded and mysterious number) or that this new business venture, boarding teen "debutantes," was to help supplement her retirement income. Those were strict family secrets and, despite DJ's angst in living here, she did have a sense of family loyalty - at least for the time being. She wasn't sure if she could control herself indefinitely.

DJ stopped at the second-floor landing. "The bedrooms are on this floor, and the third floor has a ballroom that would be perfect for volleyball, although Grandmother has made it clear that it's not that kind of ballroom." She led Taylor down the hall. "My bedroom is here," she pointed to the closed door. "And yours is right next door." She opened the door. "The blue room."

Taylor looked into the pale blue room and shook her head in a dismal way. "And is it true that I have to share this room with a perfect stranger?"

"Well, I don't know how perfect she'll be."

"Funny." Taylor rolled her eyes as she opened a door to one of the walk-in closets opposite the beds.

"I try."

"It's not as big as I expected."

"It's bigger than it looks," said DJ as she walked into the room and then pointed to a small alcove that led to the bathroom.

"Do I get any say in who becomes my roommate?"

"I guess you can take that up with my grandmother."

Taylor tossed her purse onto the bed closest to the bathroom and then kicked off her metallic-toned sandals. "These shoes might be Marc Jacobs, but they're killing me."

"So, you're really into this?" asked DJ. "The whole fashion thing?"

Taylor sat down on the bed, rubbing a foot. "There's nothing wrong with wanting to look good."

DJ felt the need to bite her tongue. Taylor was her grandmother's first official paying customer to arrive and participate in this crazy scheme. Far be it from DJ to rock Grandmother's boat. At least not just yet.

"Well, thanks for the tour," said Taylor in a bored voice. Then she went over to where a set of expensive-looking luggage was stacked in a corner. "Don't the servants around here know how to put things away properly?"

"Properly?" DJ shrugged.

Taylor picked up the top bag and laid it down on the bench at the foot of one of the beds and opened it.

"Don't you want to go down and tell your mom good-bye?" asked DJ as she moved toward the door.

Taylor laughed in a mean way. "And make her think she's doing me a favor by dumping me here? Not on your life."

"Here are some more bags for Miss Mitchell," said Inez as she lugged two large suitcases into the room, setting them by the door.

"Put them over there," commanded Taylor, pointing to the bench at the foot of the other bed. "And don't pile them on top of each other. This happens to be Louis Vuitton, you know."

DJ saw Inez make a face behind Taylor's back. But the truth was DJ didn't blame her. Inez might be a housekeeper, but she didn't deserve to be treated like a slave. Suddenly, DJ felt guilty for snapping at Inez earlier today. She smiled now, and Inez looked surprised and a little suspicious. Then DJ grabbed the largest bag, hoisted it onto the bench with a loud grunt, and Taylor turned around and gave her a dark scowl.

"Thank you," she snapped.

"Later," said DJ as she exited the room with Inez on her heels.

"Mrs. Carter wants to see you downstairs, Desiree," announced Inez when they were out on the landing.

"Again?" complained DJ. "What for?"

"Another girl just arrived. Your grandmother wants you to give her a tour too."

"What am I now?" asked DJ. "The official tour guide?"

"That sounds about right." Inez gave her a smirk.

DJ wasn't sure if she could stomach another fashion diva with an attitude problem, but on the other hand, she didn't want to risk another etiquette lecture from her grandmother either. Once again, she clomped down the stairs and made her appearance in the office, suppressing the urge to bow and say, "At your ser vice, Madam."

"Eliza," gushed Grandmother, "This is my granddaughter, Desiree Lane. And Desiree, I'd like you to meet Eliza Wilton."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Desiree."

DJ nodded. She could tell by how formal her grandmother was acting that Eliza Wilton must be someone really important - meaning extraordinarily wealthy - even more so than the Mitchells. And that's when she remembered her grandmother going on about "the Wilton fortune" this morning at breakfast. Of course, that must be Eliza's family.

"Nice to meet ya, Eliza," DJ said in a purposely casual tone. This girl was pretty too, but not like Taylor's dark and dramatic beauty. Eliza was a tall, slender, impeccably dressed, blue-eyed blonde. She wasn't exactly a Paris Hilton clone - and she didn't have a little dog as far as DJ could see - but there was a similarity, except that Eliza's face was a little softer looking, a little sweeter, but then looks could be deceiving.

DJ wondered if the Botox was starting to wear off, as her grandmother studied her with a furrowed brow, probably comparing her to Miss Perfect Eliza. Naturally, DJ would not measure up.

"Eliza is from Louisville," said Grandmother. "Her parents are presently residing in France, where her father just purchased a vineyard. But Eliza's grandmother and I are old friends. We went to college together. When she heard about what I was doing up here in Connecticut, she encouraged her daughter to send dear Eliza our way."

"Lucky Eliza," said DJ in a droll tone.

Eliza actually giggled. Then Grandmother cleared her throat. "Desiree will give you a tour of the house," she said. "And she'll show you to your room."

"Which is ...?" asked DJ.

"The rose room."

Of course, thought DJ as she led Eliza from the office. Next to her grandmother's suite, the rose room was probably the best room in the house. Naturally, someone as important as Eliza would be entitled to that. Not that DJ had wanted it. And perhaps her grandmother had actually offered it to her last month. DJ couldn't remember. But she had never been a flowery sort of girl, and she knew the rose wallpaper in there would've been giving her a serious migraine by now. Besides she liked her sunny yellow bedroom and, in her opinion, it had the best view in the house. On a clear day, you could actually glimpse a sliver of the Atlantic Ocean from her small bathroom window.

DJ started to do a repeat of her earlier tour, even using the same lines, until she realized that Eliza was actually interested.

"How old is this house?"

"Just over a hundred years," DJ told her. "It was built in 1891."

"It has a nice feel to it."

DJ considered this. "Yeah, I kinda thought that too, after I got used to it. To be honest, it seemed pretty big to me at first. But then you're probably used to big houses."

"I suppose. Not that I'm particularly fond of mansions."

"Why aren't you with your parents?" asked DJ. "In France?"

"They're concerned about things like politics and security," said Eliza as they exited the library. "In fact, they almost refused to let me come here."

"Why?"

"Oh, I think they felt I was safer in boarding school. If our grandmothers hadn't been such good friends, I'm sure they never would've agreed."

"So, you're happy to be here?" DJ studied Eliza's expression.

"Sure, aren't you?"

DJ frowned. "I don't know ... I guess."

"I think it'll be fun to go to a real high school, to just live like a normal girl, with other normal girls."

DJ tried not to look too shocked. "You think this is normal?"

Eliza laughed. "I guess I don't really know what normal is, but it's more normal that what I'm used to."

"But what about the whole fashion thing?" asked DJ. "I mean you must know about my grandmother's plans to turn us all into little debutantes. Are you into all that?"

"That's nothing new. Remember, I'm from the south. My family is obsessed with turning me into a lady. That was one of the other reasons my parents agreed to this. I think they see the Carter House as some sort of finishing school."

Or some sort of reformatory school, thought DJ. Although she didn't say it out loud. Not yet, anyway.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Mixed Bags by Melody Carlson Copyright © 2008 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 91 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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  • 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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