In Homecoming Queen, the third book in the Carter House Girls series by Melody Carlson, the theme seems to be simply living through high school. This is anything but simple. Put six high school girls in a boarding house, add rich, snobby parents, a retired fashion icon trying to turn the girls into models, and a little not-so-friendly competition and you have a mess. Tensions run high and friendships are strained as two of the Carter House girls fight for the Homecoming crown.
In spite of poor transitions, clichés, and an unorigial plot, this book has some surprisingly dynamic characters and does a fabulous job of capturing the high school experience. Though there are allusions to God and prayer, the story lacks a Christian agenda. Religion is only mentioned here and there, without spiritual growth and any relationships with God.
There are six girls in Carter House, with the story focusing on three of them. Desiree Jeanette, known as DJ, is the protagonist of the story. She is the oddball in Carter House. She lives there because her mom is dead and she doesn't get along with her dad. Unlike most of the girls in Carter House, DJ doesn't have a lot of money and doesn't care very much about her outward appearance. Taylor is DJ's roommate. Taylor is a stuck up, selfish, tough girl who always needs the spotlight. Even through the rough transitions in the book's writing, Taylor is one of the more interesting characters. Getting to know Taylor adds some depth to the story. The third major character is Casey. She is the good friend of DJ and the arch rival of Taylor; she adds a serious layer to a frilly story of surface problems. In the end there is growth among the characters.
For high school age girls, this book fits the mild entertainment profile but it is not a bill of fare for any serious readers or thinkers. There were good points, with the overall style one of frivolity and lightweight concerns. -- Rebekah Mosolf, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Taylor returns from her disappearing act. The girls are still at odds over boyfriends and drama roles, as well as the upcoming event where Taylor, Eliza, and a reluctant DJ compete for homecoming queen. Will the best girl win?