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Viva Vermont!: Carter House Girls, Book 4

Review

Viva Vermont!: Carter House Girls, Book 4

In a quickstep conclusion to the homecoming queen election of DJ (and to the surprise and dismay of a few of the other Carter House girls), DJ's elation is short-lived as DJ’s grandmother immediately turns her focus to the big fashion show the following day.

Trying her best to get out of the event, Grandmother insists that DJ takes part even with her orthopedic walking boot and cane. After all, DJ is a local celebrity and the newest reigning homecoming queen, and Grandmother is not one to turn down free publicity. So DJ pops a pain pill and takes a nap while the other girls spend the morning primping and prepping for the upscale fashion show at Keller Tavern (where no alcohol is allowed).

Hoping to sleep through the dreaded compulsory occasion, DJ's wish doesn't come true when roommate Taylor wakes her up and the girls go to work on getting her to look picture perfect. Accepting the fact that there's no way out, she complies and submits to her friends' beauty treatments. Still, the fashion show doesn't come off without some jealousy-driven shenanigans taking place. Green with envy, Eliza purposely trips DJ as she makes her way down the runway and it only goes downhill from there (in more ways than one). Taylor, the ever-fickle friend, rises to DJ's defense and aid, and transforms a certainly embarrassing fiasco into a triumphant and somewhat comedic routine.

Relieved to have that obstacle over, DJ immediately finds herself front and center of another drama with her ex-boyfriend Connor's former girlfriend, Haley. Although she is innocent of getting in between Connor and Haley's rekindled romantic relationship just gone sour, Haley's swim team buddies conspire to gang up on DJ and the anger escalates into physical and emotional abuse. Making matters touchier, DJ is asked to join the swim team and earns a top spot as a strong swimmer, thus further alienating the obsessive and rejected Haley. When DJ begins receiving anonymous threatening text messages, her fear mounts and she looks for a way to make peace with Haley before real violence takes place.

Trying to concentrate on school and swimming, yet another diversion comes up when Grandmother announces that she is taking the girls to Viva Vermont for a weekend. Immediately, covert plans are made to party up the weekend, and the rule-breaking section of the house finds itself in more trouble than it expected. DJ and Connor, en route to the lodge later than the rest of the group, experience car trouble and are stranded overnight in some shabby hotel room. Of course, that situation, innocuous as it is, breeds hot gossip amidst the Carter House girls and then spreads to the school at large. Only when Haley attempts to take her own life do the girls and their friends begin to sober up on a variety of levels.

Melody Carlson knows how to speak the language of teens. Her ongoing savvy ability to create real-life explosive situations and transform them into teachable life lessons is what makes her voice a popular and needed one.

Reviewed by Michele Howe on September 23, 2008

Viva Vermont!: Carter House Girls, Book 4
by Melody Carlson

  • Publication Date: September 23, 2008
  • Genres: Christian, Fiction
  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • ISBN-10: 0310714915
  • ISBN-13: 9780310714910