Carmen Castillo is major unimpressed with her parents’ divorce. How come Dad gets to live in the fabulous family home in the right neighborhood, and she has to live with Mom and two sisters in an apartment on the wrong side of the tracks? Not only can Carmen no longer play tennis at the Country Club, but she can’t see her boyfriend every day anymore either. And then there’s the gang warfare in her new neighborhood. If she could click her ruby heels together and go home, she’d do it in a heartbeat.
If her parents would only get back together, Carmen’s world would be right again, so she gives it her best–but unsuccessful–shot. Carmen’s life spirals quickly when she decides to take the concept of forever family into her own hands. If her parents can’t provide it, how about her and Nick? They can do a better job.
Of course it’s not so simple when you’re sixteen years old, and when Carmen lands at rock bottom, she checks into Diamond Estates, a home in Colorado for troubled girls. But is she really up for the work and attitude change it will require to change her life for the better?
This book deals with traumatic teen issues, but doesn’t provide simplistic answers. Carmen’s journey in both directions (down and up) is peppered with both major and minor decisions that keep the story from seeming formulaic. This is the second book in the Diamond Estates series. Very different than The Wishing Pearl, it’s my favorite story in this series so far. If you are a teen or know a teen who is willing to read hard-hitting, realistic fiction about the choices teens face, please read and/or provide these books.
Yes, I’m biased. Nicole O’Dell is one of my critique partners and writing buddies. I’ve seen this story (and series) develop from a mere gleam in Nicole’s eye. She has not only a rare talent, but a driving passion for helping teen girls make wise choices.
Nicole O’Dell is the founder of Choose NOW Ministries, the host of Parent Talk and Teen Talk on Choose NOW Radio, and the author of a bunch of YA and adult fiction and non-fiction. Some of her books include the interactive Scenarios for Girls series, the Diamond Estates series, and the upcoming Hot Buttons series for parents. She’s also the mom of six kids, among them is a set of toddler triplets. Visit Nicole’s website to learn more and find links to all the fun social stuff.
I’ve read several versions of this book as it grew, but haven’t yet held the paper copy in my hands. My review is based upon the final submitted version as I last saw it, a few months ago.