Carter Finally Gets It rating: 4 of 5 stars
Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn rating: 2 of 5 stars
It’s interesting to read “Carter Finally Gets It” and “Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn” within the same time span. Both novels attempt to get inside the mind of a teenage boy and find out what makes him tick. I imagine this is a valid concern for many teenage girls, trying to figure out what makes certain guys tick and why we act that we do. And while each novel concludes that guys are driven by one thing, it’s interesting to see how differently each novel approaches that driving factor.
With “Gideon” the feeling I got was that guys are motivated only by one thing–sex. And that’s it. The insight into the guy’s mind is that teenage boys think about sex A LOT. They think about the ways they could possibly have sex, where they could have sex and who they would like to have sex with. And that drives just about everything they do in trying to win over and impress girls.
Honestly, the story doesn’t go much deeper than that and, in the end, it becomes a bit repetitive by the halfway mark of the book. What will keep you reading is the curiosity factor over which of the characters is the first-person narrator with the all access pass to Gideon’s mind. There were times I felt like skipping ahead to find out, but I kept thinking I might miss some pivotal moment or some character development. Alas, that never quite happens.
On the other hand, you’ve got “Carter Finally Gets It,” a story about high school freshman Will Carter and his journey though his first year of high school. Carter and his fellow male friends are clearly motivated by lust for their fellow females, but most of them would clearly have no idea what to do with a willing female should they get one. In fact, Carter and his crew really have no clue as to who they really are and instead put on airs and try to be the stud they all think the should be. The results are humorous and realistic. Carter starts off the book in a romance with his home ec partner from the previous year who has blossomed a bit. Helped by his older sister’s advice, Carter is able to at first woo her but allows his early small successes such as holding her hand, kissing her and getting to first base to cloud his judgment and boost his ego. Before you know it, Carter is trying to have his cake and eat it too instead of just being the guy that he liked being and that most people liked him being.
It all catches up to him in a realistic way and then the rest of the novel finds Carter finally “getting it” and figuring out who he is. Yes, by the novel’s end Carter is still a hormonally imbalance waiting to happen, but there’s been some growth and learning by Carter along the way. There’s also been a couple of nice laughs that are grounded in the character. As I said in my review of “Swim the Fly,” the tone is similar to the early “American Pie” movies where you had some crude humor but it was balanced by some heart. That’s the case with “Carter” and while the book isn’t necessarily perfect, it’s still an interesting and enjoyable enough read.