Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Carter Finally Gets It
If John Hughes had ever written a young-adult novel, it would have been Carter Finally Gets It. This hysterically entertaining, and pleasantly insightful, debut from author Brent Crawford is one of the best YA novels I have read in years. In fact, there are few books that better capture the voice of a boy during his freshman year of high school, especially one with ADD, an occasional stutter, an overbearingly popular sister, and his "boys." These characteristics and characters are the main vehicles of Carter's conflicts as he navigates the trials of adolescence - football, girls, parties, girls, competition, girls, homework, girls, and, well, girls.
Carter tells his own story in a voice that is as honest as it is hilarious. The frustration that comes from the pressures of school and social situations moving just a bit too fast for an eternally distracted mind is always entertaining, and at times rather poignant. Carter can't seem to get a handle on his social or athletic or academic responsibilities, and at times he simply helplessly admits I've been in high school almost a month, and it's nothing like I thought it would be .... I want to feel comfortable ... I want people to think about me as much as I think about them, and I worry I'll always feel this way. Like I did on the first day of kindergarten. That sort of honesty is so refreshing, and it's nice to see in a character like Carter who isn't simply a stereotype of a dorky freshman. In fact, Carter is a popular, athletic kid who struggles with schools and the social expectations of an increasingly fast adolescent world. Carter is an Everyman, for whom many high school students will be able to relate.
This is the kind of book that I wish every adolescent girl would read - it might do a lot help them understand the adolescent boys that frustrate them so. Like so many of the movies from the classic young adult raconteur John Hughes, this book presents a fun, funny, and truly honest portrait of adolescence, in all its manic glory.
I highly recommend this book.