Summary: Overwhelmed by nerves at the thought of doing a class presentation, Carmen decides to skip school instead. It’s Valentines’ Day, and after uncharacteristically stealing some lipsticks, Carmen finds herself in front of a tv camera being asked what she would like. Her innocent answer is taken out of context, but an adventure with one of her favourite musicians helps her to understand that she is not alone. In the span of twenty-four hours, Carmen gains newfound confidence not only to face school again, but also to go on a date with the guy she likes.
Number of Pages: 101
Age Range: 15-17
Review: Carmen is the short novel of a teen girl who is having trouble being at home in her own skin. Her father has named her after the main character in the opera, Carmen, and keeps insisting that Carmen herself will be a great beauty and an enchanter of men.
With her shy and insecure nature, Carmen feels this is the last thing she will be, and after she puts a note in her crush’s locker inviting him to the Valentines Day dance, she skips school the next day.
But her day off from school changes her life. There’s a moment during her day when she seems to become the woman her dad can see in her, as if that woman was inside her the whole time and just needed a chance to make her debut. When she comes back to school, she’s different, a little more secure in herself, because she now knows that woman is a part of her. And the confidence she gains helps her to take a chance by going out on a date with her crush.
It’s a bit of an odd read, but an interesting journey of self-discovery for mid to older female teen readers.
“Without hesitating, she heads straight for the pail full of nails. She kicks it so hard that all the nail roll out onto the floor, scattering like exploded shards of her anger.” – from Carmen by Carole Fréchette, page 88
“‘Because . . .’ Carmen responds stammering, ‘because I am not ‘the distress of today’s youth.’ I’m me. Just me. And I don’t want to talk to you about all the rest of it because . . . because it’s my secret.'” – Carmen from Carmen by Carole Fréchette, page 100