After surviving freshman year (just barely), Carter is craving his summer break. Unfortunately, when he and his girlfriend, Abby, part ways, it looks as though summer just might break him. Things start to look up when he’s unexpectedly cast in an independent film opposite the world’s biggest tween sensation, Hilary Idaho. With Hollywood knocking on his door, Carter gets a taste of the good life. But as the film spirals out of control, he begins to fear that he’s not the “somebody” he thinks he is and more the “nobody” he’s sure he always has been. Find out if Carter goes Hollywood or Hollywood goes Carter.
This was cute and funny and endearing. But not nearly as cute and funny and endearing as the first book in the series. The thing about the first book was that Carter was figuring things out for himself. And it was hilarious. And poignant and so honest.
Carter’s Big Break was more about Carter finding things out about other people. Which, the way that Crawford writes, is entertaining and taught some good lessons, but it just didn’t live up to the first book.
I didn’t love that Hilary Idaho and all her issues was such a big part of this story. I understand what Crawford was trying to do: HIlary Idaho is an international superstar who’s got lots of issues and insecurities and addictions because she had no childhood and is basically used by everyone around her. He says all that without saying any of it, which was masterfully done. But it felt cliche. I’ve heard all that before. I’ve seen that story play out a hundred times with actual little starlets. So, well done, Crawford, for covering the topic so well (I would totally believe he had some kind of real-life experience with this) and making us all simultaneously feel sorry for and sickened by child stars. But I just wasn’t that interested in Hilary Idaho. Or anyone like her.
All the acting info and stuff about shooting a movie was pretty interesting. It read like a normal guy writing an insider’s look at filming. Which was great. Usually when you get an inside look at something it’s either too superficial to be informative or too “inside” to understand (i.e. you have to look up half the terms used). I really did like the “normal guy” take on acting in a movie.
We don’t see as much of Carter’s friends in this book. Which is disappointing because his friends, and Carter’s reactions to them, are hilarious. Even Abby, the love interest, is hardly around for this story. So most of the characters I loved in the first are replaced by a movie crew and director and stuff. Sad.
Carter still comes up with funny/cringe-worthy things to say and think. But I didn’t laugh as much as the first book. Carter was still also completely honest and accurate as a teenage boy. Which I really appreciate.
I don’t know what else to say about this. I love this author and these characters so I’ll definitely read the next in the series but I wouldn’t recommend this as a stand-alone. You don’t need to read the first one to understand what’s happening in the second, but you should read the first in order to fall in love with the characters before you decide to move on.
Sexual Content: Mild (much to Carter’s dismay, although there are lots of sexual thoughts going on.)
Language: Moderate (may have even been Mild; I can’t remember much cursing)