Reason for Reading: I’m leading a discussion on this book for my Christian Fiction bookclub in October.
When Carmen’s parents get a divorce, she is forced to move with her mother and two sisters from her classy home in upstate New York to a small, dilapidated apartment in Hackensack New Jersey. Willing to do anything to get her classy life back, Carmen makes bad decision after bad decision. Finally, she has no choice but to leave her family for The Diamond Estates–a refuge for teenage girls who need to get away from life and find God. This was a very difficult book for me to read and review. Carmen’s decisions were so supremely selfish that I spent most of the book either groaning or feeling angry at her. I think O’Dell was very brave to create a character like Carmen for readers of Christian fiction. That said, O’Dell did an impressive job of making Carmen likable despite an overwhelming number of unlikable traits. That takes talent. I would recommend this book to parents of troubled teens or to troubled teenagers who are seeking God.