Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rendezvous on the Runway

Ah, Paris, the heart of the fashion world! What better on-location place to film for Paige and Erin Forrester, the faces in front of and behind the camera of a fashion-based reality television show?

Rendezvous on the Runway, written by Melody Carlson, is the third book in a series for young adults. The story opens just before the girls leave for France, and gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of its two heroines. Both are beautiful (dubbed Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn look-alikes). Both respect Christian values. Beyond that, the differences are striking. Off camera, Paige is vain, manipulative, impulsive, jealous, petulant…and in charge. On camera, Paige is flirty, witty, charming, dazzling…and in charge. On the other hand, Erin is consistently thoughtful, prayerful, modest, encouraging, and self-sacrificing. Even so, the two girls support each other and work together as a team to make the show successful.

The story then follows the girls across the glamorous streets of France and to a countryside castle. The reader gets to experience the fashion world up-close and personal. Conflict rises between the two sisters (over a purse, no less!), between Paige and a rival model, and between Erin and various love interests. Plus, the sisters must deal with the trappings of fame. As the tension builds, Erin turns to prayer and reflection for answers.

In the end, the sisters realize they need sort things out. And so … “here we sit, just two slightly confused sisters in Paris, talking about guys and life and even God, while we wait for room service to arrive with our dinner. And I think, this is good—this is how it should be. Although we still have a couple of things left to do in Paris, I think that the most important part of this trip is right here in this room. And I thank God for that.”

Throughout the story, the author makes several references to events and characters from the previous two books. It would be well worth it to read these two volumes before reading this installment.

What I Like: The characters were likable and realistically portrayed. The writing was crisp and the storyline drew the reader in. The Christian aspect was lightly done, but heartfelt and honest. The book should hold strong appeal to anyone interested in the fashion world. Also, the author quoted one of my favorite poems—The Cremation of Sam McGee. While it seemed slightly out of place in the story, I was thrilled TO PIECES when it came up in the campfire scene.

What I Dislike: To me, the story seemed to end too abruptly. While that gives me the reader freedom to speculate, I prefer a clear closing. Also, alcohol abuse is brought up, both in reference to past events and present temptations. At first, I appreciated that, when pressed by her friends to drink, Erin refused. (She doesn’t drink, but she has friends with a history of alcohol problems.) However, one pestering peer finally strikes a deal with Erin. She will contribute money to help African orphans if Erin will taste the wine. So, for the sake of the orphan fund, Erin takes a sip. And then she takes another for someone else willing to contribute. Luckily, another friend (one who has gone through alcohol rehab) steps in and says, “And if you stop drinking it, I will match Eliza’s contribution to the orphan fund.” I just wish Erin would have stuck to her guns and poured out the wine.

Overall Rating: Good

Age Appeal: Young adult (I believe better suited for older teens)

Publisher Info: Zondervan, 2010; ISBN: 978-0310717881; Paperback, 202 pages, $9.99

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