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Book of the Week #12- Diary of a Teenage Girl Series

Diary Of A Teenage Girl
by Melody Carlson
    Diary Of A Teenage Girl is a Christian young-adult series spanning from the year 2000 to 2010. There are sixteen books in total. The series is divided into four parts, one for each girl, in the order of:
   Caitlin O'Connor- who becomes a missionary and youth pastor.
   Chloe Miller- a punk rocker with wild hair and a gift for music and poetry.
   Kim Peterson- a bright and academic girl.
   Maya Stark- an environmentally conscious girl who is vegan and lives with her mother in L.A.
   Each book finds the girl's in different climaxes in life where none of them are really Christians. Each one eventually finds their way to Christ throughout the series and deals with the regular pressures of teen life, like dating, trouble with parents and friends, etc.... And then there are some not-so-typical issues, like starting a career in the music business, raising yourself as a teenager, losing a parent at a young age and so forth. All books are written in the style of a diary, hence the name.
Caitlin O'Connor- later Miller
   In Caitlin's first book, she's a high school junior who becomes accepted in the "cool group" and begins dating Josh Miller. She struggles with fitting in, being burned by her new friends, problems within in her family and uncertainty about dating and the pressures therein. The non-fiction book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, is mentioned throughout the entire series and Caitlin later decides to give up dating completely after reading the book. She goes on a mission trip to Mexico with her youth group and finds that to be her calling in life. After marrying Josh, the two become youth leaders in the church they went to as teens.
Caitlin's books include:
Diary Of A Teenage Girl (some editions are labeled "Becoming Me")
It's My Life
Who I Am
On My Own

Chloe Miller
   Chloe's series starts off as she begins her freshman year of high school. Once a popular soccer player, she now wears black, shredded and studded attire, dyes her spikey hair colors such as lime green, magenta pink, and eggplant purple and plays the guitar. Chloe has been friends with Caitlin ever since her older brother Josh confided in Caitlin that he was worried about his little sister's lack of friends and thought she needed some encouragement. As Caitlin is in her freshman year of college, she begins sharing the gospel with Chloe, a staunch Atheist, via email. Chloe later befriends Laura and Allie and the three form an all-girl Christian rock band. In later books, they cut a record deal, go on tour with the biggest Christian band around, all while going to high school and trying to be normal teens.
Chloe's series consists of:
My Name Is Chloe
Sold Out
Road Trip
Face The Music

Kim Peterson
    As Kim's part of the series begins, she is questioning the religion, Christianity, that she had been brought up in and begins looking into Buddhism. She later decides that the Buddhist faith isn't for her and becomes a Christian. She was born in Korea and adopted by American parents. Throughout the series, she anonymously writes a teen advice column titled Just Ask Jamie for her father's newspaper. In later books, her mother is diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer and dies on the night of Kim's junior prom. Kim's Aunt Sharon and cousin Maya come in from Los Angeles for the funeral where Kim and Maya begin to connect. Kim's series ends as she graduates high school as the valedictorian with plans to attend college and major in journalism.
Kim's books include:
Just Ask
Falling Up
Meant To Be
That Was Then....

Maya Stark
   Maya Stark is the daughter of former 80's pop star, Nick Stark, who is making his comeback. Maya is homeschooled, but is basically her own teacher because her mother, whom Maya calls Sharon, stays up all night partying. Sharon doesn't work and wastes all of the child support and alimony Nick pays on drugs and alcohol. Tired of bills going unpaid and never having food in the fridge, fifteen-year-old Maya gets a job as a model, then later begins working at a clothing store. Maya is an environmentalist as well as a vegan and plants her own vegetables, drives a hybrid car and shops at thrift stores. After keeping in contact with Kim via email, Kim notices how Maya is left alone most of the time and that Sharon does not properly care for her. Kim and her father, Allen, eventually invite Maya to move in with them. Once there, she begins attending public school and writing an environmentally conscious column for her uncle Allen's newspaper.
Maya's series consists of:
A Not So Simple Life
It's A Green Thing
What Matters Most

   I really loved reading these books growing up. They really appealed to me as a teen reader and the series was one that inspired me to become an author.
    I love that each girl is connected to the other three in some way or another. Caitlin and Chloe become sisters-in-law. Chloe went to high school with Kim and they occasionally play music together. Kim goes to the youth group that Caitlin and Josh lead and she also plays the violin at their wedding. Kim and Maya are cousins. Caitlin mentors Maya, teaching her about the Bible and Christianity.
    I like that in What Matters Most, Melody brought back all of the girls in some way or another; that was very neat. Kind of like a farewell. I do wish there was a follow up, kind of "where are they know" book, though. So many questions I'd like to get an answer to. Like, did Caitlin and Josh have kids/ adopt kids from the mission in Mexico? Did Chloe marry Jeremy? Where did Kim wind up living/ working? And whatever happened to Maya? But don't we feel that way about all good books/series?
   My knee-jerk reaction when asked who my favorite is would be to say Chloe. I wanted to be her when I was fifteen-years-old and eventually did dye my hair crazy colors. But I also like the other girls in some way or another. I can relate to Kim for her love of writing, I admired Maya for her respect for the environment and Caitlin for her strong faith. There's something for everyone in this series.
   All in all, this is a really great series, especially for teenage girls (though adults have been known to enjoy it, too!). It deals with real life issues, but in a clean way that won't make you feel uncomfortable, and points you to the Savior.

I give it a 5 out of 5

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