Wonderful Second Book to the Diamond Estates Serie
Date:September 4, 2012
Carmen Castillo devises the ultimate plan to escape the horrors of poverty and root herself in high-class society once again. Except her plan, devised of treachery, deceit, and dishonesty, turns inside out. Instead of high-class, she ends up in high trouble. Diamond Estates and the girls who live there are willing to teach Carmen the value of honesty and integrity, two concepts foreign to this Jersey girl. Now Carmen must decide to learn the lessons her housemates offer or lose everything she loves.
Ms. O'Dell writes another wonderful story of truth and real-life drama. Carmen and her cast of characters are believable and loveable. I found myself rooting for even the nemesis to sidle up to the good side. The Embittered Ruby is a delightful read that's entertaining and challenging. You'll walk away looking at people a little differently once you've read this story.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Carmen Castillo, forced to leave her wealthy father’s New York home when her divorce, detests Hackensack, New Jersey, and the impoverished neighborhood she now shares with her mother and younger sisters. Her scheme to hold onto her rich boyfriend, Nate, backfires, she is kidnapped by a gang, and she eventually ends up at Diamond Estates, a ministry for troubled girls.
Hardened by all her negative experiences and the way she’s used others, Carmen doubts God holds the answers she seeks. Her attempts to rule her own life or to fix things have not worked out. She finally faces herself and doesn’t like what she sees, but eventually discovers how to become free of all that’s bound her.
This second book in the Diamond Estates series for teens shares a story youth can relate to as they accompany Carmen on her journey from bitter to better. This novel addresses prejudice, relationships, choices, the longing to belong, and the craving for contentment. This book is a story on its own, but contains some of the same characters as book one, The Wishing Pearl, which I also recommend.
Carmen Castillo’s live is falling apart. Her parents have gotten a divorce, which meant she had to move to s new school in New Jersey, far away from her boyfriend in New York, the country club where she plays tennis, and her beautiful home. New Jersey is gross. Their new apartment is in a seedy part of town, and on the first day of school, she gets hit on my the head of a dangerous gang. Carmen just wants out. But her desperation leads her to deceive everyone she knows.
Nicole O’Dell writes honest, gut-wrenching books about real life. They are just so powerful they give me chills. I could totally follow Carmen’s logic, being raised the way she was. My heart grieved for Carmen and her boyfriend Nate. But Nicole always takes readers on a journey through the eyes of her characters, and Carmen’s journey was beautiful. I loved it. These are amazing books for teen girls. I highly recommend them.
I do not read a lot of young adult books but I was glad I had the opportunity to read this one. The story centers on a sixteen year old girl named Carmen. She is going through family drama and this book takes you along on her journey.
I found the story to be realistic. I thought the descriptions of the main characters’ emotions were well written. You follow the character as she justifies doing things that she knows are wrong. You really get to know her and understand why she does what she does. I did feel like it took you on this long journey that ended abruptly though. The ending is not as good as the rest of the book. That said, I still enjoyed the story and gave this book 4/5 stars.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
From my daughter who inhaled this book: Sixteen year old Carmen finds herself for an escape from her new home in New Jersey. After her parents divorce, her mom moves her and her sisters to an apartment on the wrong side of town. Everything she knows -- from her family to her friends -- is stripped away and she's desperate to somehow recreate what she once had. When all of her attempts fail, it feels like her life is over. She makes a string of bad choices in her attempt to break free. She's willing to do just about anything if it means creating a new family. These choices lead her to Diamond Estates in Colorado. At Diamond Estates she has to confront the consequences of her choices and decide whether to change or continue on her path. All along God's grace is waiting and wooing her...she just has to choose whether to accept it.
While Carmen made a bunch of bad choices, I liked her story because it showed me that no matter what we do God still loves us and won't leave us. No matter what we've done, God won't turn His back on us. He's still waiting for us to turn to Him. Her story pulled me in -- I literally read this book in one night. It hit our house, and I inhaled it. I also enjoyed the return to Diamond Estates...a place I loved in the first book Wishing Pearl.
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.
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.