Book Review: "New York Debut" by Melody Carlson

The New Year promises to be lively for the Carter House girls. No sooner does the calendar page turn and the girls are forced to confront a whole load of difficulties. There is constant pressure from Mrs. Carter as the household prepares to participate in the high stakes Spring Fashion Week in New York City. Competition flares from all directions as the girls vie for top billing, premium outfits, and attention from favorite 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?

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!

New York Debut by Melody Carlson is published by Zondervan (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I had never of these books before, but I'll definitely check them out. I think one reason more people haven't found them, is Christian YA is always set in a different part of the store than regular YA, at least at my local store. Not as many people find them.


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