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New York Debut

New York Debut

4.3 19
by Melody Carlson

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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.

The New Year promises to be lively for


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.

The New Year promises to be lively for the Carter House girls. The calendar page barely turns before the girls are forced to confront a whole load of difficulties. Mrs. Carter is determined to push the girls as receive the opportunity to participate in the high-stakes Spring Fashion Week in New York City. Competition soon flares from all directions as the girls vie for top billing, premium outfits, and attention from certain guys. Stresses mount, and some personal challenges grow into serious problems. Will the girls survive the big city experience and the even bigger trials that come along with it?

Product Details

Publication date:
Carter House Girls Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

New York Debut

By Melody Carlson
Copyright © 2009

Melody Carlson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-71493-4


"WHERE IS OUR TAYLOR?" asked Grandmother pleasantly. She kept her eyes focused on the road as she navigated her Mercedes through the heavy traffic exiting the air terminal.

DJ hadn't told Grandmother the whole story yet. In fact, she hadn't said much of anything to her this past week, except to leave a brief message explaining that she'd changed her return flight from Vegas, and that she planned to be home two days earlier than expected. Obviously, Grandmother had assumed that Taylor had changed her plans too and was returning with DJ.

"So ... is Taylor on a later flight?" Grandmother persisted.

DJ was tempted to say, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." But she knew Grandmother wouldn't buy that.

"Desiree?" Grandmother glanced at her curiously.

"Taylor is in LA." DJ said the words slowly, wishing she could add something more to her answer, something that would deflect any further questioning ... or blame. But what?

"Visiting her father?"

"No ..."

"Touring with Eva?"

"No ..."

"What then?" Grandmother's voice grew slightly irritated as she entered the busy expressway, cutting directly in front of a semi without even using her turn signal. The trucker leaned into his horn, but Grandmother seemed oblivious. "Where is the girl, Desiree? Why isn't Taylor with you? Speak up, please!"

"Taylor is in rehab." DJ sucked in a quick breath, preparing herself for her grandmother's reaction.

"Rehab?" Grandmother turned to stare at DJ with widened eyes. "Whatever for?"

"For alcohol treatment." DJ pointed ahead at the crowded road now. "Watch out!" she cried as the Mercedes wandered over the line and into the center lane.

Grandmother returned her attention to driving, her lips pressed tightly together. Hopefully she was stunned into speechlessness, although DJ knew it wouldn't last long. DJ looked out the window, staring at the stone gray skyline as she twisted the handle of her Gucci bag. Taylor had forced the purse on her right before she went into the rehab facility.

"You keep it," Taylor had told DJ after she'd emptied some personal items into another bag. They were sitting in Taylor's mom's luxurious tour bus that was parked outside of the rehab center. The Gucci bag was on the small dining table, with Taylor and DJ sitting across from each other.

"I can't keep your purse," DJ had told Taylor. "It's way too expensive. Besides, I know how much you love this bag."

"It'll make me feel better to know it's on the outside." Taylor was joking, but DJ could see the tears in her eyes. "For all I know someone in that place might try to steal it from me anyway."

Then they'd just sat there in silence for a few minutes. DJ had worried that this was all a huge mistake ... and that it was all DJ's fault for confronting Taylor in the first place. Not that DJ didn't want Taylor to get help with her alcohol problem. She most definitely did. But, really, what did they know about this place? And what about the people who ran it? Wouldn't it be better for Taylor to get treatment back in Connecticut? Back where she'd have friends to support her?

"Let's go." Taylor had stood with a determined expression. The driver, who'd been patiently waiting outside for them, now opened the door and smiled uncertainly, asking Taylor if she was ready. She had just nodded solemnly, waiting as he gathered up her designer bags and led the way.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" DJ had asked as they followed him to the main entrance of the facility. But Taylor said nothing. Instead, she'd held her head high, in that haughty Taylor fashion, tossing DJ a narrow-eyed glance. DJ had known immediately what the look meant. It was a warning - keep your mouth shut before I let you have it. And that's just what DJ had done.

Grandmother made a hissing sound through her lips, but continued to drive without speaking. This was a relief since DJ didn't really want to discuss Taylor right now. She was still trying to grasp this strange turn of events herself. It felt surreal. Just a week ago, she'd been so angry at Taylor (and Eliza too). They'd both been totally exasperating in Vegas - drinking, partying, and pretending to be adults, but acting more like spoiled children. Then Eliza left - just as quickly as she'd come. That's when DJ had confronted Taylor, and that's when Taylor had decided to get help. After that, DJ had been mostly on her own, counting the days and hours until she could fly out of there. No matter what others said about the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, to DJ it would always be lonely and depressing. She was thankful to be back in Connecticut again. Even if it was starting to rain.

DJ had expected to feel relieved after she'd left Taylor at the rehab facility. Really, shouldn't she be thankful that Taylor was finally safe? Instead, DJ felt sad and worried and somewhat responsible. The hardest part was discovering that Taylor wasn't allowed any communication from the outside.

DJ didn't get that. What was the point of cutting Taylor off from everyone? No cell phone calls, email, or anything. It seemed weird - and slightly suspicious. Oh, sure, the rehab place had looked pretty swanky with its beachside location near Malibu. It had manicured grounds, elegant palm trees, and pretty stucco buildings with red tiled roofs. But what if it was some kind of a cult where they brainwashed their patients and promised to fly them off to Jupiter? DJ had seen a movie like that once.

Naturally, DJ was praying for her missing roommate, but she still felt concerned. What if they were mean to Taylor? What if something bad had already happened and Taylor was unable to call for help? What if Taylor never came back? Not only would DJ blame herself, she figured everyone else would too.

DJ jumped to hear Grandmother speaking to her again. "Desiree?" she said sharply. "Are you even listening to me?"

"Sorry ..." DJ turned to look at her. "What did you say?"

"I was simply inquiring as to whether you girls got into some kind of trouble out there in Las Vegas." Grandmother had exited from the expressway by now, and they were coming into the outskirts of Crescent Cove. DJ was surprised at how thankful she was to see this town - the same town she'd been so eager to escape before Christmas. Not only that, but she missed her friends. She would be happy to see the other Carter House girls again. Well, except for Eliza. DJ wasn't too excited about seeing her. Hopefully Eliza was still in France for a while longer.

"No ..."

"Now I expect you to be completely honest with me, Desiree. Did something happen to precipitate this rather shocking news ... this news that Taylor is being treated for ... for alcoholism?"

"The only thing that happened is that Taylor finally realized that she has a serious drinking problem. Remember, I tried to let you in on this 'shocking news' some time ago."

"Well, yes, I do recall the incident with the vodka bottle. I simply assumed it was a one-time occurrence."

"I told you it wasn't." DJ could hear the edginess in her own voice. But she didn't even care. Really, wasn't this partially her grandmother's fault? Why hadn't she taken DJ's warnings more seriously?

"I do know that girls will be girls, Desiree. You can't have spent as much time in the fashion industry as I have and not know this."

"Were you ever like that?" asked DJ suddenly. "I mean, that 'girls will be girls' bit? Did you do stuff like that? Did you do drugs or alcohol?"

Grandmother cleared her throat. "I certainly wasn't an angel, Desiree, if that's what you're hinting at. However, I did understand the need for manners and decorum. But that was a different era ... people behaved more properly then. Still, over the years, I have witnessed numerous young women whose lives have spun out of control. Beautiful or not, a model won't last long if she is unable to work."

"Isn't that true with everything?"

"Well, yes ... I suppose so."

DJ sighed and looked blankly out the window as Grandmother drove through the small seaside town. She wondered if Conner was back yet. It seemed like years since she'd spoken to him.

"So ... how long is Taylor going to be in ... this rehabilitation facility?"

"I don't know. You should probably call her mom."

"Oh, dear!" Grandmother shook her head as she turned down their street. "That's something else I hadn't considered. I certainly hope that Eva Perez doesn't blame me for her daughter's ... well, for Taylor's drinking problem. Do you think she does?"

"Eva is fully aware that Taylor had this 'drinking problem' long before she came to Carter House."

"Good." Grandmother sighed as she turned into the driveway. "I just hope Taylor's treatment won't prevent her from participating in Fashion Week. That would truly be a disaster."

"Seems like it would be a worse disaster if Taylor didn't get the help she needs."

"Yes, of course, that goes without saying. But I would think that a week or two should be sufficient treatment. Goodness, just how bad can a problem get when you're only seventeen?" Grandmother turned off the engine and looked at DJ curiously.

DJ shrugged, but didn't say anything. The truth was she thought it could get pretty bad, and in Taylor's case it had been scary bad. Plus, it could've gotten much worse. It was mind boggling to think that Taylor had been drinking daily and DJ never even knew it. Oh, she'd known about the binges. But, despite sharing a bedroom, DJ never suspected that Taylor drank every day.

"It's just as well you came home early, Desiree," said Grandmother as they walked into the house. "Already, Casey and Rhiannon are back. And Kriti is supposed to return tomorrow. Eliza will be back on New Year's Eve."

"I'm surprised she didn't want to stay in France for New Year's." DJ hadn't told Grandmother about Eliza's surprise appearance in Vegas. Or the role she had played in helping to derail Taylor.

"As am I. If I were over there, I'd certainly have booked a room in Paris for the big night. Nothing is more spectacular than fireworks over the River Seine. But apparently Eliza has plans with her boyfriend here in town. Imagine - giving up Paris for a teenage boy!"

Of course, DJ knew that Eliza's life of lavish luxury didn't mean all that much to her. Sure she was spoiled, but like a poor little rich girl, Eliza wanted a slice of "normal." Well, normal with a few little extras like good shoes, designer bags, and her pretty white Porsche - not to mention her obsessive need to be first and best at everything. DJ remembered Eliza's confession during their silly Truth or Dare game in Vegas. Although Eliza never would've admitted this if she hadn't been slightly inebriated at the time.

"It's good to be home," DJ proclaimed as her grandmother opened the door. DJ was struggling to drag her baggage up the porch stairs. Naturally, Grandmother didn't offer to help. DJ didn't expect it.

"It's nice to hear you say that, Desiree." Grandmother waited for DJ to come into the house. "And I'm glad to have you back as well." She frowned as she closed the door. "But I'd be disingenuous to say that I'm not severely disappointed that you left Taylor behind. I really didn't expect that from you."

DJ just sighed as she lugged her bags to the foot of the stairs. It figured that Grandmother had decided to blame DJ for Taylor's problems. Why should that even surprise her? Why had she expected anything more?


Excerpted from New York Debut by Melody Carlson Copyright © 2009 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.

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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New York Debut (Carter House Girls Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My grand-daughter read all the books leading up to this one as a summer project. I never had to push her to read. She is 11 years old, soon to be 12 years old and there were topics in the books we would talk about--real life today incidents. It's well written and one you can trust.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever you have to read itif you dont you will rely be missing out on the best book ever
Sandra Beyer More than 1 year ago
Read it!
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Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
It's time for another adventure with the Carter Girls and this is time we get to visit New York City and discover the fashion world. This book is perfect for those who watch shows like America's Top Model or Project Runaway as the reader is taken behind the scenes of fashion shows and runway models. Since the story is from DJ's perspective, she's not really interested in this subject which I totally can relate with her. Her grandmother thinks that this should be the high point in her life and strives to make DJ and the other Carter House girls into the model-types she thinks they should be. It was really nice to see Taylor come back from rehab and be a changed person. She's not 100% changed, as that would be totally unrealistic, but she does now have a sense of maturity that she didn't show in previous books. Interestingly all her bad traits now seemed to have been passed on to Eliza, who has decided to become the house's mean girl. There is also a plot involving anorexia which is relevant to the main storyline about fashion. Even though it's a subject tackled many times in YA books, it's still relevant and important to mention. This story isn't as far fetched as the previous story set in Las Vegas, although the girls still display independence in a big city that I could have only dreamed of when I was that age. I'm still not really a fan of DJ's grandmother but she is starting to change. Slowly but at least it's finally happening. To be honest I really don't understand why mainstream YA readers have been avoiding this series or other Melody Carlson books. Yes there are characters in these books that happen to be Christian but the story lines are not preachy. The plots rival those being published by mainstream publishers and the characters go through almost exactly the same events. Even the covers are spiffy enough to stand next to each other. I'm not sure if it's because of marketing or the fact that these books are on a Christian publisher but I just never see mainstream YA bloggers ever talking about these books. Hopefully that will eventually change because I really think they would enjoy these books. I know I do! Overall this is another great addition to the series and I'm looking forward to the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
I have a few comments about the Carter House Girls series... 1) I really like this series. New York Debut is #6 in the series and even though I have missed a couple in the middle I can still enjoy the most recent addition, and enjoy it I did! 2) I need to make clear that the Carter House Girls is for YA, but not all YA (young adults). My almost 13 year old is not ready for this series. Period. The characters are diverse and interesting and cover all spectrums and I love the concept. 6 girls from various backgrounds come to Carter House to live while they go to a local high school. While at Carter House they learn about fashion, poise, manners, etc... or they are supposed to. Sounds good right. So why is it not right for my daughter yet? Melody Carlson deals with real issues in these books. Sadly, they really are real issues, but not issues that my daughter has been exposed to yet and I want to keep it that way for awhile longer. So these books will wait for her patiently on my shelf for the time being. 3) So what are some of these issues? Well, the main character, DJ, is a Christian but most of those around her (including her Grandma, Mrs. Carter) are not. Some of the issues dealt with in the books I have read include anorexia, reputations (as in sexual reputations), boyfriends, drinking... in this particular book, one of the girls is coming back from the rehab she checked herself into in the last book. So let me clarify that Melody deals with these issues wonderfully. But at this point my daughter wouldn't even know what rehab is. I definitely recommend this series for high school girls in public school, even college girls and women like myself, but not for the younger girls that haven't been exposed to some of this yet. Just use your common sense and enjoy!
Smilingsally More than 1 year ago
This installment of the Carter House Girls series highlights teen drinking and eating disorders. Six girls live together in a boarding house and study modeling. Excitement builds as Spring Fashion Week in New York City nears. The girls actually participate by modeling in the show. Some modeling tips are included. Taylor is in rehab when the story begins. DJ continues to mature in her Christian walk as she influences others for the good. Eliza represents evil and pays for some bad choices. The book ends where the next volume will begin. Most female teens will enjoy this series.
wbarker More than 1 year ago
Perfect for : Personal reading, great gift/read for teen girls, probably a good book for parents of teenage girls to read as well (gain some insight into today's teens!!) In a nutshell: I was recently asked if I could recommend any "edgy" Christian fiction for young adult girls, and I have to say that New York Debut by Melody Carlson is just that (my niece even confirmed it!). This is the sixth book in the Carter House series. Carter House is a boarding house for teenage girls, and in this book, the girls are coming back from winter break, getting ready to head back to school, and are preparing to participate as models in New York's Fashion Week for one of the designers. The thing that makes this series so great is that the author has created teenage girls that have real-life problems. This book tackles issues like teenage drinking, eating disorders and peer pressure, and provides responsible actions and consequences (helping a friend enter rehab, encouraging another friend to eat healthier and know that she is perfect the way she is, police involvement and house arrest and consequences for girls who throw a party and sneak in alcohol, etc). And to make it even better, there is a bit of faith interspersed throughout the book in a way that is subtle and not overdone, girls who simply say, "I've been praying for you" can really make a statement to the girls reading this book. I love what this book stands for and the message Melody Carlson is giving today's girls - add that girls actually enjoy reading these books and you've got a great combination! Extended Review: Characters: The girls in the book talk and act in ways that today's girls can relate to and understand. A few of the girls are bent on making it through life the hard way, and they act as a good backdrop within the book to show the "good" choices that some of the other girls are making. Story-Line: I can still remember being wrapped up in my own world as a teen, thinking that my parents knew NOTHING about what I was going through. I wish I could have been reading books like this one, where the story shows girls making tough choices (both good and bad), and having to deal with the consequences, and learning from each other, as well as getting a little exposure to faith, and knowing that it is ok to pray and lean on faith, even as a teen. Readability: This is a young adult/teen book, and as such, it is written to a level that teen girls will be able to relate to. I enjoyed the book as an adult, but read it knowing that it was a teen fiction book. Overall: This is a great book for teen girls (and adults), that will help impart the importance of making good choices, while allowing the reader to understand that making the wrong choice will result in consequences. I especially like that Melody Carlson has taken this opportunity to tackle some of the tough issues faced by today's teens. Note: this is the sixth book in the Carter House series, and I had no trouble reading it without having read the other books, but I would like to have read the other books as well.
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
Book 6 in the Carter House Girls series picks up as DJ is being picked up from the airport on her return from Las Vegas (see my review of book 5, Lost in Las Vegas). Taylor is noticeably absent and DJ has to share with her grandmother that she is at a rehab facility in California for alcohol abuse. Grandmother is upset and disappointed because she is afraid that Taylor won't make it back in time for Fashion Week in NYC. As school starts up again after New Years, DJ, Rhiannon and Casey begin to notice that Kriti seems to be eating less and working out more. They do an intervention and Kriti confesses that Eliza has been influencing her to lose weight. They convince her she doesn't need to and move her in with DJ - away from Eliza. Grandmother begins having classes on Saturday mornings to teach the girls about etiquette, manners and how to "own" the cat walk. She opens these up to the community and the Carter House girls find themselves spending time with Daisy, a new friend, and Madison and Tina, two old enemies. I had only read book 5 prior to this book (other books in the series include Mixed Bags, Stealing Bradford, Homecoming Queen, and Viva Vermont). Again, it was hard to differentiate all the girls at first, and I would not have had a clue had I not read Lost in Las Vegas. I don't think it reads well as a stand alone. That being said, it does have good lessons and values for a teenage Christian girl to follow and illustrates how one can turn to God in all sorts of situations. I hope to eventually be able to go back and read the first 4 books in this series. Bikini Breakdown is book 7 of this series and it is due out in October 2009.