Spring Breakdown (2010), by Melody Carlson, is one of the short books in a series, for young adults, about six teenaged girls. As a brief summary inside the book puts it: “The wealthy fashion students in Mrs. Carter’s boardinghouse spend a quiet spring break in Florida until . . .” Well, until spring breakdown hits. Fun time is over.
The girls are typical teenagers except that two or three of them are Christians, among them DJ and Taylor. Like the unsaved girls (and lover-boys), these two have their faults, albeit for Taylor one of them isn’t boozing now that she is a spiritually delivered ex-alcoholic. THIS isn’t ordinary, but all kinds of ordinary incidents roll into this little bailiwick. The only bailiwick the girls know, it is a mixed bag of the mundane and the fleshly. There is a Rockabilly dance. DJ and Taylor do some harmless skinny dipping at night. Two other girls, Eliza and Casey, get drunk after a bumpy photo shoot. There are, however, some spiritual and emotional challenges for DJ (the main character) pushing to the side all the kids-will-be-kids occurrences.
Carlson’s prose is imperfect—for one thing, she keeps misusing “hopefully”—but her narrative is entertaining and her dialogue is serviceable. It’s a Christian book, but not a preachy one. And it’s meant to appeal to a broad audience. I would rather see devout teens reading Spring Breakdown than buying a fundamentally insignificant Adele or Beyoncé CD.