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Diary of a Teenage Girl Series

Melody Carlson
Becoming Me by Melody Carlson
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
That Was Then... by Melody Carlson

Diary of a Teenage Girl Series : Titles in Order

Book 16
This Is Now

It’s Kim’s senior year and, while everyone’s looking forward to graduation, she’s got so much going on she can barely make it through the day. Natalie, pregnant with Benjamin O’Conner’s baby, believes it’s God’s will for them to marry, and Ben sees it as his Christian responsibility to do so. Major red flag? He doesn’t love her. Then–surprise! Kim’s birth mother in Korea sends her an intriguing letter, making Kim question her reluctance to get to know another “mom.” And what about Maya? Is God calling Kim and her father to open their hearts and home to Kim’s biracial cousin whose mother was just sentenced to five years in state prison? Kim has been through so much already, but that was then … Does she have enough faith for now?

Saturday, November 11

I’ve talked to Nat twice this week. But only on the phone. Both times she just glossed over what happened last weekend. She told me everything was “fine.” But without any details. It was the kind of reassurance that isn’t reassuring at all. I know she’s covering something up.

That was then…Kim Peterson has had a lot going on the past few years: writing a teen advice column, finding a new faith, dating and breaking up for the first time, losing her mom to cancer…Kim has learned to turn it all over to God day by day, relying on Him like she never has before.

Now Kim’s best friend, Nat, is pregnant and soon to be married to Ben O’Conner, Caitlin’s younger brother. Nat is starry-eyed, believing that once she and Ben are married, God will bless them and everything will work out because they’re doing the right thing. Kim’s not so sure. Is marriage the only solution for two seventeen-year-olds with a baby on the way? Why won’t they consider adoption? Kim knows about that firsthand–and is about to find out even more…

Reader’s guide included

Story Behind the Book

“In book four, Kim’s life is still shadowed by the loss of her mother, but her faith is deepening. My best friend lost her mother to cancer in high school, and I was very involved in counseling, encouraging, and praying with my friend as she worked through her grief. That experience helped me write Kim’s story from an insider’s perspective.” – Melody Carlson
Book 15
Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit. (65 words)

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.
Book 14
For the first time that she can remember, Maya Stark is beginning to feel like a “normal” teenager. Even with her mother in jail for drug possession and her pop-star father away on his comeback tour, Maya’s new life with her uncle Allen and cousin Kim is coming together. Summer vacation’s just beginning, and with a new job, a new boyfriend, and a new car (hybrid, of course), things are finally starting to look up.

But that doesn’t mean life is about to get any easier. Maya’s still devoted to living Green, and her uncle offers her a Green column in his newspaper. With the opportunity to make a difference in the town’s attitude toward the environment, Maya wonders how this fits with her newfound commitment to Christ. And if she can really consider herself a Christian when her feelings toward a fellow youth group member are anything but loving…
Book 13
Fifteen-year-old Maya Stark seems to have it all–fame, fortune, a Beverly Hills lifestyle, and an eighties pop star dad who’s making a comeback. But looks can be deceiving, and on the inside, Maya is miserable. Her parents are divorced, her dad is away on tour, and being biracial, she struggles with her identity. Then, to make matters worse, her mother has returned to using drugs and is quickly depleting their finances. In a plan to become emancipated from her messed-up mom, Maya takes a job on Rodeo Drive. Selling designer clothes compromises Maya’s earth-friendly “green girl” values, but she is desperate.

Just when Maya thinks she’s got it all worked out, her life caves in. Her mom “embezzles” Maya’s savings and is later arrested on DUI and cocaine possession charges and is facing jail time. With nowhere to live, Maya is sent to spend the summer with her relatives. In the collision of two very different worlds, Maya must figure out where she fits in–or does she fit in at all?
Book 12
Answer Girl Has a Zillion Questions. And Zero Answers

Kim Peterson, the Just Ask Jamie “answer girl” is about plum out of them. As if losing her mother to cancer wasn’t enough, the hits just keep coming. Now living with Kim and her father, her aunt and cousin bicker nonstop. Dating Matthew is about as unpredictable as can be. Her dad’s out of a job. Her prayers go unanswered. And her best friend Natalie loses her virginity to Benjamin O’Conner, Caitlin’s brother! And—p.s.—now she’s pregnant! When the world turns upside down, and Kim is about to fall apart, can she perhaps fall up? Straight into the arms of the One who loves her through the madness of life?

Friday, June 7

I think I’m having a serious meltdown here. It’s like I’m unable to reason, I can’t think straight, and I can’t get my feelings under control. Even my prayers are pathetic, just hopeless cries for help, with no faith involved. I’m a mess.

How much stress can a girl take? Kim Peterson’s mom has just died. Her visiting relatives bicker constantly. Her dad is lost in a fog of grief. Her boyfriend, Matthew, can’t decide what to do after graduation. And Kim’s best friend Nat just can’t seem to get over being dumped by Ben O’Conner, Caitlin’s younger brother.

More than anything, Kim wishes her mom were here to tell her everything’s going to be okay. But that’s not going to happen. When Kim reaches the breaking point, her dad sends her off to her grandmother’s house in small-town Florida, where she’s able to slow down, feed the gators, and realize that she’s not indispensable…only God is! And instead of falling apart, she can fall up…into His arms.

Reader’s guide included

Story Behind the Book

“My teenage years remain vivid in my mind. It was a turbulent time full of sharp contrasts—love and hate, pain and pleasure, trust and doubt. Then, just as I reached my peak of questioning, rebelling, and seeking, I found God. And I found Him in a really big way! My life turned completely around and has, thankfully, never turned back. Hopefully this story will touch and change hearts—speaking to teen girls right where they live, reminding readers that God is alive and well and ready to be intimately involved in their lives right now!”

—Melody Carlson
Book 11


Kim’s World Turns Upside Down

When Kim’s mom is diagnosed with cancer, Natalie steps in, as true friends will do, to round up hundreds of people to pray for Mrs. Peterson’s healing. Her health begins to improve, and Kim’s love life begins to flourish…but with a non-Christian. Natalie warns Kim to break off the relationship, but is that just because she’s jealous? Or is God trying to speak to Kim through Natalie’s counsel? When her mom’s health suddenly declines again, Kim blames herself. Maybe she never should have become involved with Matthew, especially as she’s tempted to give in to his pressure to have sex. Kim’s faith is hanging in the balance. She wants to believe that prayer will prevail, but the obstacles seem so big…

Thursday, December 29

My dad and I are both feeling a little torn about Mom right now. On one hand, we all act like everything is just peachy, perfectly normal. But at the same time, it’s like we’re walking on eggshells too. Like we’re all thinking the same thing–is this our last Christmas all together?

Kim Peterson’s mom has stage four ovarian cancer, and Kim’s done enough research online to know the odds are dismal. But Kim and her best friend, Natalie McCabe, and a lot of other people are praying that God will heal her mom.

Kim’s mom makes her promise that she’ll continue with life as normal: Nat, youth group, violin, her Just Ask Jamie newspaper column, even hanging out with Matthew. But how can life be normal with cancer hanging over your head like a dark cloud?

And then she’s getting flak from Natalie because Matthew’s not a Christian, and Nat’s afraid he’ll drag Kim down. But Nat’s dating life isn’t exactly smooth sailing, either. Both girls are praying a lot–and waiting to find out what’s meant to be.

Reader’s guide included

Story Behind the Book

“My teenage years remain vivid in my mind. It was a turbulent time, full of sharp contrasts–love and hate, pain and pleasure, trust and doubt. Then, just as I reached my peak of questioning, rebelling, and seeking, I found God. And I found Him in a really big way! My life turned completely around and has, thankfully, never turned back. Hopefully this story will touch and change hearts–speaking to teen girls right where they live, reminding readers that God is alive and well and ready to be intimately involved in their lives right now!” –Melody Carlson
Book 10
Who Do You Ask When You Don’t Have the Answers?

What’s a girl to do when caught between a rock and a hard place? The “hard place” is losing the use of her beloved car, and the “rock” is her immovable dad. In order to regain driving privileges, Kim Peterson’s dad talks her into writing an advice column for teens in his newspaper. Kim reluctantly agrees and writes under a pen name. But as she reads letters from peers and friends, she becomes keenly aware of two things: (1) Some kids have it way worse than her, and (2) she does not have all the answers! Who can she turn to?

Thursday, September 1

I’ve been saving for my own car, but my parents decided that I can only get a car if I keep a clean driving record. That means absolutely NO tickets—period—nada. And the policeman said he’d clocked me going 72 in a 55 mile zone. Oops.

When Kim Peterson gets a speeding ticket, her dad offers her a way to retain her driving privileges. If she’ll write the anonymous teen advice column for his newspaper, she can still get a car. So Kim becomes “Jamie” of “Just Ask Jamie.” No big deal, she thinks.

She answers letters about stuff that’s everyday and stuff that’s not: parents, piercings, dating, drugs, depression, and people who are just users. Nothing Kim can’t handle.

But when a classmate is killed, the letters turn to questions about life, death, and what it all means. And Kim starts to wonder if she really does have all the answers—and if not, where to find them. The Christian faith of her adoptive family? The Buddhism of her Korean heritage? Who can she turn to—to just ask?

Story Behind the Book

“My teenage years remain vivid in my mind. It was a turbulent time full of sharp contrasts—love and hate, pain and pleasure, trust and doubt. Then, just as I reached my peak of questioning, rebelling, and seeking, I found God. And I found Him in a really big way! My life turned completely around and has, thankfully, never turned back. Hopefully this story will touch and change hearts—speaking to teen girls right where they live, reminding readers that God is alive and well and ready to be intimately involved in their lives right now! ”
Book 9
Saturday, October 22

My life changed today. It’s as if I got up this morning as one person and will go to bed as someone else. Okay, maybe it’s not THAT drastic. But I’m so excited I’m not sure I’ll ever go to sleep tonight. Josh Miller asked me to marry him!

First she “kissed dating goodbye.” Now, several years later, Caitlin O’Conner is getting married–to the guy she’s loved all along, Josh Miller! It’s her senior year of college, and she has seven months to plan her wedding…but according to Josh’s mom, that’s not enough time.

Meanwhile, Caitlin’s roommate, Liz, has ditched her to move in with a boyfriend. Her new roommate and old friend, Jenny, is toying with anorexia again, and just when Caitlin needs her most, Beanie heads off to a New York City design school. On top of all this, an issue from Josh’ s past rocks Caitlin’s emotions. Can she handle it all?

True to form, Caitlin is more concerned with following God than having the perfect wedding. But it is her big day. Can Caitlin have a lovely ceremony without spending a small fortune? Will she remember it’s the marriage–and not the wedding–that lasts forever?

Story Behind the Book

“My teenage years remain vivid in my mind. It was a turbulent time full of sharp contrasts– love and hate, pain and pleasure, trust and doubt. Then, just as I reached my peak of questioning, rebelling, and seeking, I found God. And I found Him in a really big way! My life turned completely around and has, thankfully, never turned back. Hopefully this story will touch and change hearts–speaking to teen girls right where they live, reminding readers that God is alive and well and ready to be intimately involved in their lives right now! Caitlin provides a very positive role model for girls. And her wedding is a great way to teach them about the things that really matter in life–their relationship with God and their willingness to be used by Him.”
Book 8
Redemption has made it to the bestseller chart, but what Chloe and the girls need most is some downtime to sift through the usual high school stress with grades, friends, guys, and the prom. Chloe struggles to recover from a serious crush on the band leader of Iron Cross. Then, just as an unexpected romance catches Redemption by surprise, Caitlin O’Conner – whose relationship with Josh is taking on a new dimension – joins the tour as their chaperone. Chloe’s wild ride only speeds up, and this one-of-a-kind musician faces the fact that life may never be normal again.

Monday, June 13

prepare my heart for the storm / keep me safe, keep me warm / heap those bags, around my heart / build that wall, before it starts / pile them up, and pile them high / keep me safe, keep me dry / before the waves come rushing in / Lord, please, make me strong again

Chloe, Allie, and Laura split their time between “normal” high school life—going to classes, attending prom—and touring as Redemption, a rising new Christian band. When Allie’s mom needs to bow out of their summer tour, Caitlin O’Conner fills in as chaperone.

And a good thing, too. Caitlin is the perfect person to have around as Chloe’s feelings for the handsome lead singer of Iron Cross continue to grow. Amid a grueling concert schedule, Chloe realizes that attraction is a powerful and even dangerous force. But when death hits close to home, Chloe’s heart is slammed by another emotion: guilt.

In good times and bad, with blessing and temptation, and especially when things spin out of control, trusting God is the challenge. ’Cause there comes a time when we all have to face the music.

Story Behind the Book

Chloe and her band, Redemption, are being given amazing opportunities, but with it comes the responsibility of serving God wholeheartedly. In this book, perhaps more than the others in the Diary series, Chloe begins to grasp what sort of ministry (not just a music career) that God is calling her to. As an author, I travel a similar road. I am constantly weighing my “art/craft” against what God is pressing on my heart to write, while striving to be authentic and uncompromising.
Book 7
After signing a contract with a major recording company, Redemption’s dreams are coming true. Chloe, Allie, and Laura begin their concert tour with the good-looking guys in the popular band Iron Cross. Allie’s mom and her brother with Down’s syndrome add a little variety to their entourage. But as soon as the glitz and glamour wear off, the girls find life on the road a little overwhelming. Even solid, well-balanced Laura appears to be feeling the stress – and Chloe isn’t quite sure how to confront her about the growing signs of drug addiction…

we want it all, or so we say / but what gets lost along the way? / along the road to riches, fame / we know we’ll never be the same

The guys in Iron Cross occupy Chloe’s thoughts a little more than she cares to admit. Still, life on the road gets less and less glamorous and more and more overwhelming–especially when solid, well-balanced Laura begins acting strange. Her hostility toward Chloe’s concern makes the girls wonder how much longer they can keep their act together…

Story Behind the Book

Over the years, I have worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to Young Life leader to political activist to senior editor. But most of all I love to write! In the past few years, I have published more than ninety books for children, teens, and adults. I hope the Diary of a Teenage Girl series will impact the lives of teens through an honest and gutsy approach of a "diary style" book.
Book 6
Chloe Miller and her fellow band members must sort out their lives as they become a hit in the local community. Accustomed only to being scorned and marginalized, Chloe suddenly has to decide who her real friends are, and who’s just along for the ride. Now her generosity gets her in more trouble than ever. And all too soon after a talent scout from Nashville discovers the trio, their explosive musical ministry begins to encounter conflicts with family and school. Exhilarated yet frustrated, Chloe puts her dream in God’s hand and prays for Him to work out the details.
Book 5
Chloe, Josh Miller’s younger sister, is a free spirit with funky clothes and dramatic hair. She struggles with her own identity, classmates, parents, boys, and — her biggest question — whether or not God is for real. But this unconventional high school freshman definitely doesn’t hold back when she meets Him in a big, personal way. Refusing to change her image to fit into the “stereotypical Christian preppy mold,” Chloe expresses God’s love and grace through the girl band she forms, Redemption. In her development as a musician and performer, tender-hearted Chloe will learn tough lessons about following God, her heart, and her dreams.
Book 4
In this emotional sequel to Diary of a Teenage Girl, Caitlin O’Conner faces new trials as she grows in her faith and strives to maintain the recent commitments she’s made to God. As a new believer, Caitlin begins her summer job and makes preparations for a Mexico mission trip with her church youth group. Torn between new spiritual directions and loyalty to Beanie, her best friend (now pregnant), Caitlin searches out her personal values on friendship, romance, dating, life goals, and key relationships with God and family. Tough choices threaten her progress, and her year climaxes in her realization that maturity sometimes means life-impacting decisions must be made … by faith alone.
Book 3
University life isn’t what Caitlin expected. Her roommate Liz is hostile to her faith — tormenting her with raunchy music and sleazy boyfriends. Worst of all, suddenly Caitlin doesn’t understand herself anymore. Why has she regressed to being the shy, insecure girl she was in junior high? She doesn’t even fit in with her new Christian fellowship group! Caitlin tries not to envy Josh and her friends at Christian colleges, but suddenly all she has are questions and few answers. In the story of Caitlin O’Conner’s soul, this frustrating year is the most significant one yet, as the homesick freshman eventually remembers there is one companion she can always trust.
Book 2
It’s challenging enough to be a normal high school senior — but Caitlin O’Conner has a host of new difficulties to deal with in the third book of Melody Carlson’s widely popular and fascinating teen series.

Time is critical to help the orphans in Mexico, missions-minded Caitlin believes, but Mom and Dad are set on her attending college. Meanwhile, her relationship with Josh takes on a serious tone via e-mail — threatening her commitment to "kiss dating goodbye."

When Beanie begins dating an African-American, Caitlin’s concern over dating seems to be misread as racism. One thing is obvious: God is at work through this dynamic girl in very real but puzzling ways. A soul-stretching time of racial reconciliation at school and within her church helps her discover God’s will as never before.
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