Young Adult edgy Christian fiction is fast becoming one of my new favorite genres. I am enjoying reading about teens in real situations who act like how teens really would act. I sometimes get tired of reading about Christian teens who are always doing the right thing. Yes, we are supposed to stand out and not be a part of the world but at least show how hard it is to confront your peers. This series continues to show that very struggle that happens within a boarding house modern day setting. Taylor keeps shocking me with her everything she does. She is the girl who you hated in high school because she could get away with everything and never got caught. DJ's grandmother is really starting to get on my nerves. I cannot understand what is going on in her head. She seems to care way too much on appearances and favoring those who hide their true intentions and suck up to her. Those that are true to themselves either get ignored or reprimanded. I'm hoping for the day when she finally decides to open her eyes and grows up. Some people might complain about how this book focuses too much about boys and dating and is inappropriate for young teens. I feel however that this book is targeted at older teens who are dating and experiencing the same thing the Carter House girls are going through. For fans of Gossip Girl and other secular teen lit, this is an example of the perfect alternative for them. It's Christian fiction, but it's not preachy, it's fun and hip, and has characters and situations they will be able to relate too. Liking boys is a natural part of a teen girl's life and this book shows the negative consequences of what happens when you let them take over your life.
Stealing Bradford was an easy read like the first book in the series. I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much, though. I appreciated how the issues with Connor and DJ were worked through, but since this is part of a series it's still unresolved at the end, which is okay, but I don't like too many loose ends. There was a big loose end that is sort of dealt with because you see the first chapter for the next book at the end of this one, but that's the only reason. Without that you'd be left hanging. It seems like the characters are becoming more three dimensional as the series progresses, which is good. I like how gradually the deepening issues with Taylor are emerging and being peeled away like layers from an onion. It's great how the author shows that when you attempt to get to know people who you don't like, you will often see that their pain drives them to act the way they do. That's definitely the best part of this story. The scenario with Taylor at the school reminded me of A Walk to Remember's issue, almost as if it had been taken from that story. And last, I don't know why I kept seeing Taylor as a blonde in my mind's eye, then to find out she has a totally different parentage kind of threw me. Maybe I just missed that in the first book.
Stealing Bradford by Melody Carlson is the second book in the Carter House Girls series. The personalities of the girls have been well established in the first book, now we get to see how they react to high school. Rhiannon and long time boyfriend Bradford seem perfect for each other until Taylor sets her sights on him, setting up the title of the book. When they split up, all of the other girls of Carter House set their sights on bringing Taylor down. Taylor is an over-the-top witch with a b, but as DJ spends more time with her, her vulnerability begins to show through, and it forces DJ to step forward in her faith. DJ's growing faith is refreshing and makes a nice addition to the series. Because she didn't grow up in a Christian home, everything about Christianity is new to her, and some of the toughest lessons for teens (or anyone): judge not, lest ye be judged, and love your neighbors and your enemies are struggles for her. My one disappointment for this book was the ending. Having recently read I Heart Bloomberg, I was surprised to find that Carlson had used an almost identical plot device in that book. While the two books have different audiences, it's not a good practice for an author.
Exactly how does someone steal a boyfriend? Doesnt the guy have complete control over who gets his heart no matter how alluring the temptation? Thats precisely Taylors point. The classic mean girl with an attitude kick starts a series of lessons we can all learn. I confess I jumped to the same conclusion as DJ when Bradford showed up to watch a movie at Carter House. Falsely accused, Taylor had it right. Things arent always what they seem, and its wrong and dangerous to make prejudiced assumptions. To DJs credit, as she seeks to walk out her faith, did seek out the truth and have the humility to apologize.Friendship and compassion take on deeper dimensions as Stealing Bradford invites the Carter Girls to look beyond the surface and embrace the true beauty hidden behind the mask. Both Goth Girl Casey and Terrible Taylor find safety and support as they open up and reveal the aching heart theyve been covering. Tucked beneath the layers of protective competition, stay-away-from-me faade, and putting your best face forward are lessons only life can teach. The girls learn through bittersweet experience that manipulating a situation can backfire, mercy and forgiveness make friendship grow, fair trial precedes good judgment, you never know the pain someone is hiding, revenge is not sweet, and taking things to God takes the pressure off of you.When some trashy but phony pictures of Taylor flash across the internet, things take a dramatic twist and the moment of truth surfaces for the girls as they team up to find the disappearing diva en route to who knows where on her motorcycle in the rain.. Stealing Bradford leaves you hanging onto a thread of hope while dangling at the edge of a cliff squinting to catch the slightest glimpse of what will happen next. To find out, stay tuned for Book 3, Homecoming Queen coming Sept 19.
This 2nd book in the Carter House Girls series is fantastic. It really goes more in depth about what teen girls experience at home and at school such as fitting in, bullying, relationships with boys, cultural differences, revenge, Christian faith, self-esteem, true beauty, and so much more. You get a chance to even learn some secrets about Taylor that makes you realize she's just human like we all are, and we all have unique ways to deal with are issues, but faith in God brings a peace to your life. DJ finds that even though she is a new Christian her faith guides her through the days of confussion, fear, and chaos, which brings peace to her soul. The values of Jesus are examplified by the girls such as being kind to others, treating others as you want to be treated, the power of prayer, scripture studying, and love. Melody Carlson continues to address the issues that teen girls are faced with on a daily basis.