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A Not-So-Simple Life (Diary of a Teenage Girl) [Kindle Edition]

Melody Carlson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.00 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Paperback $12.15  
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Book Description

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?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carlson's bestselling Diary of a Teenage Girl series gets a new star in Maya, who is the cousin of previous Carlson heroine Kim Peterson. Like the other dozen-plus books in the series, this one features teens with serious family problems—in Maya's case, a drug-addicted and abusive mom and a dad who's rich and famous but has no time for her. The grounded Maya, with her environmental idealism and her resourceful maturity, is a plucky heroine. Carlson exposes the seamy underside of glamorous Hollywood, including the music and modeling worlds, so it's no surprise that Maya doesn't miss the fast lane when she goes to live a small-town life at her cousin's. There she is exposed to Christianity and begins to explore faith. Fans of the series will welcome this new character even as they enjoy the crossover appearances of characters they've come to love. (July 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“As Maya Stark pours her heart out in her journal, readers are treated to an inside view of a life that is at times exotic and unfamiliar, and at other times hauntingly similar to our own. Maya’s struggles become our struggles, her pain our pain, and her successes, therefore, even sweeter. A Not-So-Simple Life is another triumph for Melody Carlson.”
- Virginia Smith, author of Sincerely, Mayla and Stuck in the Middle

“Fantastic book! Maya is so easy to like–this is a hard story to put down!”
- Erynn Mangum, author of Miss Match

“Melody Carlson has proven her skill once again at writing gritty stories about characters in difficult situations. In A Not-so-Simple Life, Maya Stark seeks to escape life under the controlling hand of her drug-addict mother by acting on a plan for independence with admirable determination.”
- Michelle Buckman, author of Maggie Come Lately and My Beautiful Disaster

“I just finished Melody’s book and loved it! The journal format makes the story, and Maya, so real and believable. Readers will easily be able to identify with the realistic approach to a prevalent situation.”
- Patricia Rushford, author of the Max & Me Mysteries

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 401 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1601421176
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (June 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EWAQ14
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,210 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We cannot control what happens in our life October 14, 2009
Maya Stark might have a celebrity dad and live in Beverly Hills, but that doesn't mean her life is easy. Her parents are divorced, her dad is touring, and her mom is on and off the drug and alcohol wagon so often Maya never knows who to expect. The problems with her mom force Maya to be the adult in the family. She cooks and cleans and hides what money she can from her mom. It's not enough. Despite Maya's earth-friendly values, she gets a job at an upscale clothing boutique in Beverly Hills. Her plan: save up enough money to get legally emancipated from her parents so she can take charge of her life.

But just when Maya thinks it's all going to work out, life falls apart. She has no choice but to spend the rest of the summer with her cousin. Will Maya ever find home sweet home?

A Not So Simple Life was a great read. Maya drew me into her world. I loved seeing her fight for her freedom and stand up to her parents. Despite her attempts, she's proof that we cannot control what happens in our life. That only God is in control. It was a relief to see Maya figure that out. I hope more of us do. Melody Carlson is off to another great series with Maya. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read! October 29, 2008
By CeeCee
Often today, we hear adults bashing teens without celebrating the ones who overcome adversity. Carlson portrays a teen whose back is up against the wall but comes out determined to overcome her negative situations. I liked Maya from the first page. Shoot, her courage inspired me.

I know she's a fictional character! But still.

This book will appeal to teens who hero worship celebrities and their lifestyles. The entertainment world is not always pretty and this story offers an realistic glimpse into it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully edgy story that rang true for me. November 30, 2012
I've known kids like Maya my whole life. This story was incredibly edgy, but that's what made it real. And the cool thing is that I read the second book first so I got to see her after she became a Christian. She is still learning what that means all through the next book. She struggles with things like real people do even after they find faith. Anyway, back to this book, which is the first in the series... Maya's feelings are so real. She sounds so much like a teenager even down to the honest thoughts and feelings about her parents.

There is no attempt by the author to be politically correct. I appreciated that a lot. I also liked that she was trying to find who she was and become independent, but at the same time she just wanted to be loved and live a normal life in a regular family. Given her background, I could see the appeal of having a simple life.

I loved the fight scene with her mom where her dad came and rescued her before they killed each other. I sensed the real emotion in that one. And even the desire to commit suicide made sense. Very realistic reactions and emotions in this book. Maya sounded just like a hurt, confused, depressed and hopeless-feeling teen would think and feel. Yet she doesn't follow through for good reasons. She knew she was missing something...peace...and where to find it. Well done!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep them coming! October 22, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My daughter tells me that this is her favorite book of the Diary of a Teenage Girl series.
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More About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at

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