Normally, I intensely dislike teenage angst-y books about dating, clothes, looks, friends and all the other anguish-inducing facts of teenage life. But, periodically, I read another one, hoping this one will be different. I finally found one that is different and I really, truly, madly enjoyed it.
Brent Crawford is a first-time novelist and he really got it right with Carter finally gets it.
Will Carter is 14 years old and getting ready to start his first year of high school. He is friendly, funny and has a big circle of friends which includes lifelong pal EJ and a pack of other guys, including Bag (short for Scumbag) and Hormone (remember, he is 14). Carter (never call him Will) has an older sister, Lynn, who is worried that his arrival at the high school will sully her reputation and ruin her popularity. Why is she concerned? Carter has ADD and doesn't always have good control over what comes out of his mouth and how he reacts to stressful situations.
Carter is most concerned about losing his virginity as soon as possible, preferably with Amber Lee, the girl he fell in love with at the beginning of sixth grade.
The book takes Carter through his freshman year: playing football, first date, first teenage party with beer, shaving, being bullied by older students and more. Carter gets himself into some truly painful situations because of his ADD and his general cluelessness. He is a most endearing hero and I was cheering for him at every turn, even when I wanted to shake his shoulders and say, "What in the world were you thinking?" I laughed, got teary-eyed and completely enjoyed every page of this book and I can't wait to see what young Mr. Crawford comes up with next. I hope it is very soon!