Notes From a Spinning Planet: Mexico

16 Aug


Melody Carlson

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Publication Date: 2007

Paperback: 225 pages, and thank goodness I had it in paperback. I couldn’t stand another e-book fiasco.

Book Blurb:

Madison Chase’s holiday break is drawing to a close and she’s eager to leave the grey Washington winter and join her Aunt Sid on a warm vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Maddie is pleasantly surprised when her good friend Ryan McIntire shows up to enjoy the trip with them. But when Ryan runs into his high-school crush—the beautiful Shelby Wagner—Maddie’s jealousy threatens to spoil their sun-drenched days.

Unsure of her relationship with Ryan, Maddie distracts herself by befriending a local girl, Fracesca Tarrago, who is both intelligent and hardworking, but lives in deep poverty. As Maddie does what she can to help Francesca, she discovers a secret that Shelby has been keeping from all of them. Can Maddie put aside her conflicted feelings and love Shelby enough to help her?

Follow Maddie to the romantic beaches of Mexico as she explores a love deeper than simple affection—and discovers the beauty of true sacrifice.

Stand alone or series: Third and last of the Notes from a Spinning Planet series.

Why I read this book: The novel that I’m currently writing is not so surprisingly set in Mexico. I wanted to see how another author would handle things like the language difference and the culture.


On her last adventure, Maddie explores Cabo, a Mexican tourist spot that ranks among Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Much of Maddie’s stay at the two wildly different resorts does not grasp real Mexican life as Carlson  has striven to do in her other novels. However, Sid and Maddie are here for a vacation and not a hard-hitting story. Some Mexican authenticity is found through Maddie’s friendship with Francesca. Much like Lydia in the Papua New Guinea trip, Maddie take Francesca under her wing and helps her out in whatever ways she can. Together they explore a small Mexican town a few hours for Cabo and visit Francesca orphanage where all may not be as it seems.

This novel also brings up self-image issues for Maddie when she begins to compare herself to the tanned and long-legged Shelby. She revisits past struggles and fights against a reoccurrence. The comparison game is easy to play but instead Maddie prays and distracts herself with the beauty of their surroundings. Though self nit-picking is something most women can fall into, I know I can when I have a particularly numerous amount of zits or when I can’t get my oddly wavy hair to sit just right, or one of a dozen other things I regularly pick on myself about. Maddie sets a great example of how to combat such thoughts and fights sinking into self-doubt and pity.

I was really proud of Maddie in this novel. Not only did she fight for herself with looks, she proved strong in many other areas. She stood up to a bully, confronted a friend with a problem and decided she would be just fine with or without the attention of a boy. I felt she really came into her own in this trip and though I don’t typically like drawn out series I would’ve been happy to read another and see where this next chapter in her life would take her.

Though I didn’t particularly enjoy the Papua New Guinea novel, I’m very happy I stuck it out for this final novel in the whirlwind Notes from a Spinning Planet series. Happy reading. And if you’re feeling the urge to explore Mexico after this trip I’d be happy to show you around!


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