Meet Will Carter, but feel free to call him Carter. (Yes, he knows it’s a lazy nickname, but he didn’t have much say in the matter.)
Here are five things you should know about him:
1. He has a stuttering problem, particularly around boobs and belly buttons.
2. He battles Attention Deficit Disorder every minute of every day unless he gets distracted.
3. He’s a virgin, mostly because he’s no good at talking to girls (see number 1).
4. He’s about to start high school.
5. He’s totally not ready.
Join Carter for his freshman year, where he’ll search for sex, love, and acceptance anywhere he can find it. In the process, he’ll almost kill a trombone player, face off with his greatest nemesis, suffer a lot of blood loss, narrowly escape death, run from the cops (not once, but twice), get caught up in a messy love triangle, meet his match in the form of a curvy drill teamer, and surprise the hell out of everyone, including himself.
Holy wow, I can’t even tell you how much I loved this book. I laughed through the entire thing. Not, like, quiet book-reading laughter either; This was uncontrollable laughing-out-loud, my face turning red, people staring at me like I’m crazy kind of laughing.
Let me get this out of the way before I write anything else: This is the most perfect representation of an actual teenage boy that I have ever read. Which means that there’s lots of talk/thoughts about sex and girls and boobs and butts and everything hormonal teenage boys think about. It’s so honestly accurate that I think every girl should read it just so they know how teenage boys actually think. Crawford never intentionally puts down girls or seems to hold any kind of gender-grudge against females or anything like that. He’s just honest. Feminists will probably hate this book. I loved it.
I loved how normal Carter was, how relatable, likable and funny (omigoodness, so funny!). He’s completely average and completely comfortable with that. And he also screws things up all the time in the most entertaining ways. I would genuinely want to be friends with him.
Some other things I loved:
Carter is 14 and tries his first beer but doesn’t like it. So he talks about how gross alcohol is and thinks high school parties that are all about getting drunk are lame and he tries not to drink. I kind of loved that. It’s honest; Yes, most kids will try alcohol. Most of them won’t like the way it tastes. But Carter does something about it, instead of just getting drunk like all his friends. He doesn’t drink. I think it’s a good message to send kids; Alcohol is gross. And if you don’t like something stop doing it.
As a horny teenage boy, Carter has a grainy pornographic video that he watches… until a guy he looks up to says to get rid of it. This book is anti porn! I was so happy when I read that, I can’t even tell you. I wanted to high-five Brent Crawford when I read that! How often do you get a teenage boy telling another teenage boy to not watch porn because it’s unrealistic and messes with your head? I mean–just–Yay, friggin’ Brent Crawford! Seriously, with today’s technology every child will be exposed to some form of pornography and it will be difficult for many to resist the draw of it, especially with their peers pressuring them to see that stuff. I love that a book written by a man about a teenage boy, for teenagers has this anti-pornography sentiment delivered in a realistic way. Yes, it’s crude and a bit gross, but it’s also funny and poignant. Well done.
The Holy Grail of girl wisdom that Carter’s sister tells him is so spot-on that I think every boy should read it so they can talk to girls. Seriously, kids, go read the book if, for nothing else, you want advice on how to land a girlfriend. Accurate, informative and insightful. Delivered hilariously, as per usual.
Carter unintentionally hurts people. More specifically, girls. I guess it’s really only this one girl. And he gets hurt, too. He’s just being himself but himself is a bit of an idiot. Which is very much like a teenage boy. I love how everything happened realistically; Carter does some dumb stuff and totally burns himself in the process. But he learns from it and moves on.
So I seriously love this book. Not everyone will appreciate the candor with which this teenage boy is portrayed because of all the, you know, thinking about sex and talking about sex and going to crazy parties and trying alcohol and experiencing porn and general crudeness going on. But I loved it because it was so accurate. This is what teenagers are like. This is what teenagers do. This is how teenagers think. Teenage boys will especially relate. And even though there’s a lot of stuff in this book that I wouldn’t normally recommend to anyone, the end messages are so positive and so poignant that I want everyone to read it. And it’s seriously hilarious.
Sexual Content: Moderate (PG-13)