Finished the middle part of my book! In case you missed the other posts about it, here are some links:
Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks
The first part of this book was definitely more light-hearted than the middle. The middle part has more conflicts between all the characters, and although most are resolved, many are ongoing. Carly and Anna, for instance, get into a huge fight when Carly insults her sister on a variety of subjects and refuses to let her grow up. Sometimes it seems like Carly is the immature, younger sister and needs to grow up, and sometimes the two girls almost seem as if they're the same age.
In this section, the focus moves more to Carly's relationship with boys and away from her relationship with her sister. Although that element is still there, there is more about the boy Carly is falling for and how she wishes he would choose her over his current girlfriend. Somehow, the author manages to paint jealousy from both Carly's perspective (regarding Cole) and from the perspective of the boy who like likes Carly, Roger, even though the novel is still in a first person viewpoint from Carly. It's brilliant.
The dysfunctional family is also more emphasized here as well. Carly mentions to her mother that she wants to go shopping, and her mom drops everything to take her to Nordstrom's, thinking Carly needs a cocktail dress for some charity ball. In fact, Carly just wants a cute outfit to help deliver stockings in so that she can impress Cole. Anna and her Dad also have a yelling match, in which Dad is furious about Anna having failed PE. Carly, on the other hand, receives straight A's and gets no recognition from either of her parents. It seems like Anna and Carly are the only two members of the family who can function on a personal level, and relate to other people without always hurting someone's feelings.
The last major topic that's touched on in this section (apparently this was a pretty intense section, especially compared to the first one) was religion. Holy Redeemer is a Christian school, and everyone there is expected to be a Christian and act like one. They do things because "that's what Christians should do" and have Christianity crammed down their throats all the time. Some of the students, like Roger, Carly, and Cole have their own beliefs that don't exactly coincide with what the school teaches, and Myracle is able to deal with such a touchy subject very nicely. Instead of criticizing anyone's beliefs, she simply presents how Carly feels and what Carly believes without pushing any beliefs on the reader or even on any of the other characters.
Oh, and two thumbs up for the Teen Girl Squad reference. I really love when I get references in books. It makes everything so much better and so much funnier. (That link is there for you to go figure out what in the world Teen Girl Squad so you can get it too.)
Only Baby Ducks left!