Narrator: Nick Podehl
Series: Carter, Book 2
Also in this series: Carter's Unfocused One-Track Mind
Published by Brilliance Audio on 10 May 2011
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 38 minutes
Also by this author: Carter's Unfocused One-Track Mind
Place(s) Traveled To: Merrian, Unknown (Somewhere in the Mid-West)
First Line(s): On the last day of school, I’m happily strolling down the hall after Mr. Rumpford’s ridiculously hard algebra final.
Carter’s Big Break by Brent Crawford picks up not long after the events of Carter Finally Gets It and if I am honest before starting this book I really didn’t remember much of the first book. I read it in a rush to meet my reading goal one year and I remember that I enjoyed it so decided to just jump right into the next book. Carter’s Big Break is told entirely from the point of view of Will Carter, a 15 year old boy, and it is both hilarious and utterly cringe worthy. If you’ve ever wanted to know what is going on in the head of a teenage boy then this is the series for you.
This audio had me cracking up throughout the story as Carter and “his boys” just dealt with the struggles of teen life. There are also moments that are classic Will Carter and as Leila Roy wrote in her Amazon review of the book this is ‘a situation in which the reader wanted to hide her eyes because she knew what horrifically embarrassing event was about to occur. In which she said, aloud, to the book, “Carter. No. No no no no no. Please, don’t say it. Dooooon’t saaaaaay iiiiiit, just don’t saaa–. Oh, hell. You dumbass.”‘ Which I really couldn’t have said it any better and as a reader I totally did this on several occasions as you just can’t stop Carter from doing something stupid. But even as he’s sticking his foot in his mouth he’s always making you laugh and as a reader you feel a bit of relief that its him and not you that is experiencing these moments.
These moments of awkward hilarity are further made all the more real by Nick Podehl’s narration. He is not just Will Carter but every teen boy ever. His narration was one of the best that I’ve listened to. Ever. He did all the voices really well but where he shined was in Carter’s inner monologues. These are often really straight forward things in books but Podehl add just the right amount of emotion and even crazy asides as Carter realizes he’s about to do/say something idiotic just moments before he says it. You can easily tell what is straight narration and what are actual thoughts that Carter is thinking and all this is all easily set apart from the various conversations that Carter has during the course of the book.
Carter’s Big Break also had some entertaining moments in its very thinly disguised pop culture references. I enjoyed Crawford’s take on incorporating these well known things in a way that won’t make the book feel too dated too quickly. As there will always be a boy band and teen movie/singing stars that just want to be treated as a serious entity. It also added a slight guessing game into the book trying to figure out just who Crawford might be referencing at any given time. It was also fun to see how Carter could easily move between hanging out on a movie set to just chilling with his friends. He’s such an adaptable person that it makes you wish that you were a little like him….even with all his awkward moments. It was nice to see Carter mature over the course of the Carter’s Big Break and while he is still very much a teen boy by the end he’s also not quite the kid that he was at the start of the first book. Crawford really does a great job in showing how kids become adults over the course of his books and its a good thing for all parents to see when they might despair their wee one every growing out of certain phases. Although, boys will always be boys and while they might grow up into adults if you get enough of them together and give them a bag of fireworks they might still burn the whole world down if given half a chance.
Often, when I love an audio I will be happy if my thoughts can just influence someone to pick up the book and read it. But in the case of Carter’s Big Break I think that audio just brings the story to a whole new level. As I said at the start, I don’t really remember much of what happened in Carter Finally Gets It. I read that as an ebook and it all just sort of blends in with other books I’ve read, especially ones from a teen boys perspective. But with Carter’s Big Break I remember so much more. This whole world and all the characters that live inside it are just so much more real. Once I finished Carter’s Big Break I couldn’t wait to start on the audio of the third book, Carter’s Unfocused One-Track Mind. This is one series that I think is made better for being an audio and I really wish I’d experienced the first book in this format and may just go out and buy the audio of it just to do so. I’m also really looking forward to seeing what other books Nick Podehl has narrated as I think he’s going to become a favorite narrator of mine.