Review: Carter’s Big Break by Brent Crawford

Carter's Big BreakAfter spending his freshman year figuring out who he was, Will Carter is ready for a restful summer with his girlfriend, Abby.

But when their drama teacher reveals that local author and celebrity is coming back to town to film an independent film version of his best-selling novel and that he believes Carter and Abby are the perfec actors for the lead roles, suddenly Carter’s life can’t get any better.

Unfortunately, Carter can’t get out of his own way fast enough, quickly alienating Abby during a make-out session in the park and getting the lead role in the film opposite teen sensation Hillary Idaho. Carter’s involvement in the film means he won’t spend the summer bonding with his dad building the deck outside and that he’ll have more than his share of opportunities to alienate his family, friends and any chance he might have of getting back with Abby.

Just as he did in Carter Finally Gets It, Brent Crawford creates a believable teenage boy, who for better or worse thinks and speaks like most fourteen year old boys do. Because of this, I fully expect these Crawford’s books to come under fire and be added to the banned book list at any moment. Heaven forbid we have an authentic, realistic sounding teenage boy who is focused on and obsessed with that thing that all teenage boys are obsessed with–and no, I don’t mean his acting career.

But what makes Carter tick and work is that while he’s your typical teenage boy, there’s also a nice guy in there struggling to get out. Sure, he alienates Abby by his request on the slides, but he also is a friend to Hillary Idaho, helping the Hollywood tween star see there’s more to life than the one she’s leading and that maybe she shouldn’t be so addicted to drugs and alcohol at this stage in her life. Carter also helps her get away from the pressure of being her family’s meal ticket and sole provider and getting the chance to enjoy life as a real teenager instead. (Of course, Carter doesn’t count on the fact that the paparazzi follow Idaho everywhere and an innocent afternoon on the local rope swing soon ends up on the cover of the gossip magazines).

Carter’s Big Break is as funny and real as Carter Finally Gets It. And while Carter may take a few steps backward from what he learned in his freshman year, it’s still a fun, entertaining book. It’s a young adult book without a paranormal romance or a dystopian future, making it all the more refreshing. It’s a novel that can easily be given to boys or girls who are Carter’s age and they’ll find out there is something more out there in the young adult world besides vampires and contests to the death.

Carter’s Big Break is funny, realistic and a lot of fun. It’s also got me curious to see what happens to Carter next in the upcoming third installment in the series.

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