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Schooling Carmen    by Kathleen Cross order for
Schooling Carmen
by Kathleen Cross
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Carmen DuPré has been getting by on her looks practically since birth. She is drop-dead gorgeous and knows it. But as a member of a family successful in business and marriage, Carmen always comes up short - especially in the eyes of her mother.

Working as a counselor at a high school known as 'never-never land' in a mostly Hispanic area, Carmen feels she's not where she truly belongs. In her eyes she should have a prestigious position in a wealthy school. The men who fawn over her, bringing expensive gifts and taking her on extravagant dates - that she can handle. Yet there's a dark lining to Carmen's life. Besides never measuring up to her mother's impossible standards, Carmen has just received word from her doctor about problems with her most recent exam. Is Carmen willing to sacrifice the only thing that has never failed - her looks? Does she really know who her true friends are?

This appears on the surface to be a typical chick lit book. Carmen is self-centered, shallow, and strings two love-sick men along. Her beauty is absolutely everything to her. The health problem she experiences turns her life in a completely unexpected direction. Carmen has to mature and decide if she's going to live life at face value or see what she's made of inside. In the process, she learns about real friendship and the true meaning of family.

Schooling Carmen moves at a steady pace, and although Carmen infuriated me at first, it didn't last too long. Her transformation as a character is realistic and believable. The unexpected support Carmen receives brought me to tears. The overall message is endearing and will not fail to touch readers' hearts. Carmen's schooling in the realities of life is highly recommended.

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