Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: Lost in Las Vegas

Lost in Las Vegas is the fifth book in the "Carter House Girls" series. From what I can tell, "Carter House" is the home of the main character, D.J.'s, grandmother. The grandmother, who evidently used to be important in the fashion industry, acts as housemother to a group of girls who attend a local school. I assume the school is private because the girls, for the most part, are very wealthy and are from all over the country. The story takes place in the days leading up to Christmas vacation and during it. DJ's roomate invites DJ to join her in Las Vegas. DJ's other choices are to visit her dad, stepmother and twin toddler half sisters or to stay with her grandmother. DJ is a Christian; with one exception her housemates to not appear to be. Most of her housemates like to drink and act sexual with guys; DJ does not. That sets up the conflict in the story. The trip to Las Vegas ends, IMO, very unrealistically. The story, as a whole, isn't overly preachy, but there isn't really a climax point and at the end, the good ending just seems forced. Alcohol is a major issue in the book.

Some series books are good in and of themselves. Others are clearly part of a bigger story. This book was in the second group. I want to know why DJ, who seems like such a good Christian girl, doesn't want to visit her dad and stepmom, even for a short time at Christmas--and why they don't register any disapproval at that decision. I want to know what Rhiannon is doing at a school whose lifestyle she clearly cannot afford. I want to know the story about Haley's suicide attempt. Why do Eliza and Kriti seem so close? Why is it important to the story that Grandma was in the fashion industry (though a little is said about a fashion show being in the girls' future).

I enjoyed reading the book and will give it to my daughter, but I did not enjoy it as much as I have some of the YA books I've read lately.

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