It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and her book: New York Debut (Carter House Girls #6)
Zondervan (May 1, 2009)
About the Author:
Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past ten years, she has published more than a hundred books for children, teens, and adults, with sales totaling more than 2.5 million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List.
Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards including The Gold Medallion, The Christy, and The Rita Award. And most recently she is in the process of optioning some of her books for film rights.
She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.
(ISBN#9780310714934, 224pp, $9.99)
â€Is she coming on a later flight?â€
DJ hadnâ€™t told her the whole story yet. In fact, she hadnâ€™t said much of anything to Grandmother at all during the past week, except to leave a message saying that sheâ€™d changed her flight and planned to be home two days earlier than expected. Obviously, Grandmother had assumed that Taylor had changed her plans as well.
â€œTaylorâ€™s in LA,â€ DJ said slowly, wishing she could add something to that, something to deflect further questioning.
â€œVisiting her father?â€
â€œTouring with Eva?â€
â€œWhat then?â€ Grandmotherâ€™s voice was getting irritated as she drove away from the terminal. â€œWhere is the girl, Desiree? Speak up.â€
â€œSheâ€™s in rehab.â€
â€œRehab?â€ Grandmother turned to stare at DJ with widened eyes. â€œWhatever for?â€
â€œFor alcohol treatment.â€
Grandmother seemed stunned into speechlessness, which was a relief since DJ didnâ€™t really want to discuss this. She was still trying to grasp the whole strange phenomenon. It was hard to admit, but the past few days of being mostly by herself in Las Vegas had been lonely and depressing and one of the reasons sheâ€™d been desperate to change her flight and come home early. She had really missed Taylor. The hardest part was when she discovered that Taylor wasnâ€™t allowed any communication from outside the rehab facility. This concerned DJ. No cell phone calls, email, or anything. It seemed weird. Although DJ was praying for her roommate, she was worried. What if it wasnâ€™t a reputable place? What if Taylor never came back? What if something bad happened to her? Not only would DJ blame herself, she figured everyone else would too.
Finally Grandmother spoke. â€œDid you girls get into some kind of trouble in Las Vegas, Desiree?â€
â€œI want you to be honest with me. Did something happen to precipitate this?â€
â€œThe only thing that happened is that Taylor came to grips with the fact that she has a serious drinking problem. If youâ€™ll remember, I tried to let you in on this some time ago.â€
â€œYes, I remember the vodka bottle. I simply assumed it was a one-time occurrence.â€
â€œI told you otherwise.â€
â€œWell, I know that girls will be girls, Desiree. You canâ€™t have spent as much time as I in the fashion industry and not know this.â€
â€œWere you ever like that?â€ asked DJ. â€œI mean that girls will be girls bit?â€
Grandmother cleared her throat. â€œI wasnâ€™t an angel, Desiree, if thatâ€™s what youâ€™re hinting at. However, I did understand the need for manners and decorum. I witnessed numerous young women spinning out of control. Beautiful or not, a model wonâ€™t last long if she is unable to work.â€
â€œIsnâ€™t that true with everything?â€
â€œYesâ€¦I suppose. How long is Taylor going to be inâ€¦this rehabilitation place?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know. You should probably call her mom.â€
â€œOh, dearâ€¦thatâ€™s something else I hadnâ€™t considered. Certainly Eva Perez wonâ€™t be blaming me for her daughterâ€™s, well, her drinking problem.â€
â€œEva is fully aware that Taylor had this drinking problem long before she came to Carter House.â€
â€œGood.â€ Grandmother sighed and shook her head. â€œI just hope her treatment wonâ€™t prevent her from participating in Fashion Week. That would be a disaster.â€
â€œSeems like it would be a worse disaster if Taylor didnâ€™t get the help she needs.â€
â€œYes, of course, that goes without saying. But I would think that a week or two should be sufficient. Goodness, just how bad can a problem get when youâ€™re only seventeen?â€
DJ shrugged, but didnâ€™t say anything. The truth was she thought it could get pretty bad, and in Taylorâ€™s case it was bad. And it couldâ€™ve gotten worse. To think that Taylor had been drinking daily and DJ never even knew it.
â€œItâ€™s just as well you came home early, Desiree,â€ said Grandmother as she turned onto the parkway. â€œAlready Casey and Rhiannon are back. And Kriti is supposed to return tomorrow. Eliza will be back on New Yearâ€™s Eve.â€
â€œIâ€™m surprised she didnâ€™t want to stay in France for New Yearâ€™s.â€
â€œAs am I. If I were over there, Iâ€™d certainly have booked a room in Paris. Nothing is more spectacular than fireworks over the City of Light. But apparently Eliza has plans with her boyfriend. Imagineâ€”giving up Paris for your boyfriend!â€
Of course, DJ knew that Elizaâ€™s life of lavish luxury didnâ€™t mean all that much to her. Like a poor little rich girl, Eliza wanted a slice of â€œnormal.â€ Well, normal with a few little extras like good shoes, designer bags, and her pretty white Porsche.
â€œItâ€™s good to be home,â€ DJ proclaimed as her grandmother turned into the driveway.
â€œItâ€™s good to hear you say that,â€ said Grandmother.
And it was the truth. After a week in Vegas, DJ was extremely thankful to be back. Maybe for the first time, Carter House did feel like a home. She couldnâ€™t wait to see Casey and Rhiannon.
â€œWelcome back,â€ called Casey as she opened the door, dashed out onto the porch, and hugged DJ. â€œNeed some help with those bags?â€
â€œThanks.â€ DJ studied Casey for a moment, trying to figure out what had changed. â€œYour hair!â€
Casey picked up one of DJâ€™s bags then grinned as she gave her strawberry blond hair a shake. â€œLike it?â€
â€œItâ€™s the old youâ€”only better.â€
â€œMy mom talked me into it. The black was a little dramatic, donâ€™t you think?â€
â€œI think you look fantastic. And that choppy layered cut is very cute.â€
â€œYour grandmother approved it too. And I got highlights.â€
DJ touched her own hair. â€œTaylor had been nagging me to get mine redone. But it was so expensive in Vegas. I figured Iâ€™d do it here.â€
Casey lowered her voice. â€œSo howâ€™d your grandmother take the news about Taylor?â€
DJ stopped at the foot of the stairs and stared at Casey. â€œDid Rhiannon tell you everything?â€
â€œYeah, is it supposed to be a big secret?â€ Casey made a hurt face now. â€œI was wondering why you told Rhiannon and not me. I thought we were friends, DJ.â€
â€œI didnâ€™t mean to, but I sort of spilled the beans with Rhiannon because I was so desperate and didnâ€™t know what to do at the time. But then I felt bad. I mean it was possible that Taylor wanted to keep it private, you know?â€
Casey nodded somberly. â€œYeah, I guess I do know.â€
â€œYou should.â€ After all, it had only been a few months since they had intervened with Casey in regard to her pain pill snitching.
â€œSo, are you saying mumâ€™s the word?â€
â€œUntil Taylor comes back. Donâ€™t you think itâ€™s up to her to say something or not?â€
â€œYeah. I can just imagine Eliza with that tasty little morsel of gossip. Itâ€™d be all over the school in no time.â€
â€œSpeaking of Eliza, that means Kriti too.â€
â€œKriti just got here about an hour ago.â€ Casey paused, nodding toward the room that Kriti and Eliza shared. The taxi dropped her and she went straight to her room. But something seems wrong.â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œIâ€™m not sure. She just looks different. Kind of unhappy. I mean she didnâ€™t even say hello or anything.â€
â€œMaybe she was missing her family.â€
â€œMaybe, but my guess is itâ€™s something more.â€
â€œWe should probably try harder to reach out to her and make her feel at home.â€
â€œYouâ€™re here!â€ Rhiannon burst out of the room and threw her arms around DJ. â€œWelcome home!â€
â€œMan, it is so good to be back. Vegasâ€”for more than a day or twoâ€”is a nightmare.â€
â€œAt least you got a tan,â€ observed Rhiannon. She glanced at Casey. â€œBoth of you, in fact.â€
â€œItâ€™s that California sun.â€
â€œDonâ€™t make me envious,â€ said Rhiannon.
â€œHey, look at you,â€ said DJ as she noticed that Rhiannon had on a very cool outfit. â€œIs that new?â€
â€œOld and new. My great aunt gave me some of her old clothes and Iâ€™ve been altering them.â€ She held out her hands and turned around to make the long circular skirt spin out. â€œFun, huh?â€
â€œAnd cool,â€ said DJ.
â€œSheâ€™s got all kinds of stuff,â€ said Casey. â€œHats and costume jewelry and scarves and things. I told her she should open a retro shop and get rich.â€
â€œMaybe I will someday.â€
â€œOr just sell things here in Carter House,â€ suggested DJ. â€œBetween Eliza and Taylorâ€™s clothing budget, you could clean up.â€
â€œOh, yeah, DJ, Conner just called,â€ said Rhiannon. â€œThey just got back from their ski trip and he said he tried your cell a few times, but it seemed to be turned off.â€
â€œMore like dead. My flight was so early this morning, I forgot to charge it.â€
â€œWell, I told him youâ€™d call.â€
Casey set DJâ€™s bag inside her door. â€œSpeaking of boys, I think Iâ€™ll check and see how Garrison is doingâ€”find out if he missed me or not.â€ She touched her hair. â€œDo you think heâ€™ll like it?â€
â€œHow could he not,â€ said Rhiannon. â€œItâ€™s so cool.â€
â€œLater,â€ called Casey as she headed for her room.
â€œSo, howâ€™s Taylor?â€ asked Rhiannon quietly.
â€œYou didnâ€™t tell Kriti, did you?â€ whispered DJ, pulling Rhiannon into her room then closing the door.
â€œNo, why would I?â€
â€œI just wanted to be sure. I think we need to respect Taylorâ€™s privacy with this.â€
â€œAbsolutely. So, have you talked to her?â€
â€œThey wonâ€™t let me. They have this no communication policy. No email, cell phonesâ€¦nothing. Itâ€™s like a black hole. Weird.â€
Rhiannon nodded. â€œYeah, it was like that with my mom at first. I think they wanted to keep her cut off from any bad connections. Then after a while, you earn communication privileges.â€
â€œOh, thatâ€™s a relief. I was really worried.â€
â€œI still can hardly believe Taylor went willingly.â€
â€œYeah, our strong-willed wild childâ€¦putting herself into rehab.â€ DJ shook her head.
â€œThat remind me, Seth has called a few times too. He wanted to know why Taylorâ€™s cell was off and where she was.â€
â€œWhatâ€™d you say?â€
â€œThat I didnâ€™t know.â€ She shrugged. â€œActually, that was the truth.â€
â€œBut nothing else?â€
â€œGood. I mean itâ€™s not like we need to keep it top secret, but until we hear from Taylor, letâ€™s not talk about it.â€
â€œSure.â€ Rhiannon put a hand on DJâ€™s shoulder. â€œAnd donâ€™t worry about her, DJ. Sheâ€™ll be fine.â€
â€œI know.â€ DJ nodded as she put her bags on her bed and started to unzip them. But as soon as Rhiannon left, DJ wasnâ€™t so sure. What if Taylor wasnâ€™t fine? What if something had gone wrong? And what if it was all DJâ€™s fault?
Click the bookcover or title for more info or to purchase a copy. Look for other FIRST Wildcard member posts and opinions also. Don’t forget to click the author’s name or photo to visit her website. I haven’t read this one myself but if/when I have a copy to read I’ll post a review.