Carter's Big Break

Carter's Big Break

4.4 8
by Brent Crawford, Nick Podehl

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School is finally over, and Will Carter has (barely) survived his freshman year. Unfortunately, he quickly learns that the summer break he's been craving just might break him. When he and his girlfriend, Abby, part ways, Carter can't help but think his summer is ruined.

Things start to look up after he's unexpectedly cast in an independent film opposite


School is finally over, and Will Carter has (barely) survived his freshman year. Unfortunately, he quickly learns that the summer break he's been craving just might break him. When he and his girlfriend, Abby, part ways, Carter can't help but think his summer is ruined.

Things start to look up after 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. Suddenly, his small town, friends, and family don't seem as great as they used to. As tends to happen when Carter is around, things spirals out of control, and he begins to fear that he's not the "somebody" he thinks he is but more of the "nobody" he's pretty sure he always has been. But maybe, with the help of a few friends, he'll start to see things in a whole new light.

Find out if Carter goes Hollywood or Hollywood goes Carter.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Walter Hogan
Carter's hometown is the location for tween sensation Hilary Idaho's latest feature film. Since the casting director is on a tight budget, fourteen-year-old Carter and some of his fellow high school drama students are offered a thrilling, unexpected chance to perform in a Hollywood movie. This novel picks up where the chronicle of Carter's freshman year, Carter Finally Gets It (Disney Hyperion, 2009/VOYA April 2009) left off. Now the hyperactive hero is on summer vacation, bringing with him onto the movie set his ADD impulses, his unpredictable relationship with sometime-girlfriend Abby, and his gross, goofy antics with a scruffy gang of male accomplices. Narrating in present tense, Carter invites the reader to fully experience the distracted brain, raging hormones, and clumsy body of an early teen. Gross-out humor, profanity, and obsessive comments on female bodies are pervasive, literally from the first page to the last. By his own admission, Carter is a shallow ignoramus (barely passing 9th grade), but his redeeming features include a good heart and a serious dedication to the craft of acting. Author Brent Crawford's own experience working in theater, film, and television comes through in the many authentic details of film production that Carter learns on the set. The industry's exploitation of child stars and the terrible pressures of celebrity life are exemplified in the person of Hilary Idaho, who lives on the brink of chemical-assisted emotional breakdowns. Carter's efforts to support Hilary help him to gain the perspective that his own problems are manageable, after all. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this hilarious sequel to Carter Finally Gets It (Hyperion, 2009), readers once again meet up with Will Carter, 14, who has a terrific girlfriend, Abby, and has just come off a terrific run playing Sky Masterson in his school's performance of Guys and Dolls. Carter thinks everything is going his way when he's cast as the lead in an independent film, but he ends up losing his girlfriend in the process. Fortunately, his new costar just happens to be Hilary Idaho, a Miley Cyrus-type character who ends up making Carter forget all about Abby—or does she? As Carter gets to know Hilary, he finds things hidden beneath her public persona that he's not sure he wants to know about. Plus, making a movie is a lot harder than it looks, especially when his ex-girlfriend is cast as Hilary's stand-in. Carter is a character who will definitely appeal to boys—he's crass, outspoken, and obsessed with T & A. This fast and fun read will definitely appeal to reluctant readers who want to see the underdog succeed in life and love. A must-have, especially where the first book is popular.—Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 7–10—Will Carter is back in Brent Crawford's riotous sequel (2010) to the hilarious Carter Finally Gets It (2009, both Hyperion). Will Carter has finished his freshman year of high school and is looking forward to a summer of hanging out with his "boys" and his girlfriend Abby. But everything changes when he lands the lead role in a film being shot in his hometown. His teen co-star, the popular Hilary Idaho, has more baggage then he can imagine, and his ex-girlfriend is Hilary's understudy to boot. As the shooting progresses, Carter realizes there is a lot more to the movie business than he ever realized. Having been a starving actor himself, Crawford paints a very real picture of life on a film set. His writing is sharp and humorous, but it's narrator Nick Podehl who once again brings Carter to life. He takes Carter's slacker cluelessness and makes it his own using just the right nuances to capture the quirky teen. For all his faults, Carter is just trying to figure out life like everyone else and the narration makes that apparent. Podehl also captures the personalities of all the other characters and is especially impressive in voicing the females such as Abby and Carter's bossy but wise sister. Though it helps to be familiar with the previous book, this story can stand on its own. Sure to be a hit with teens.—Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Narrowly scraping through his freshman year, 14-year-old Will Carter is looking forward to swimming with his buddies and making out with his girlfriend, Abby. Following a disastrous movie date, Carter finds himself both single and signed onto a movie project with the hot tween starlet Hilary Idaho. High-strung producers, on-set conflicts and celebrity drama make for one memorable summer. Crawford brings the same manic voice and frantic pacing that marked this book's predecessor, Carter Finally Gets It (2009). Will is no more mature than in the earlier work, and although the scenarios in which he finds himself require that readers make some serious investment in credulity, the humor is well intentioned and appealing. The gentle digs at the tween-entertainment juggernaut will resonate and may stimulate discussion. No literary blockbuster, this sophomore novel nevertheless propels Carter further along in reader fandom. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Brent Crawford was born in Kansas, moved to L.A. and N.Y.C. to pursue an acting career. He worked in theatre, film, TV and commercials (check it out on He’s written numerous plays and scripts, as well as, waited tables, bartended, sold hardware and clothing, worked construction and even dumped airplane toilets (where do you think it goes?). He’s now a pro writer, back in Kansas (yeah!). This is his first YA novel.

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Carter's Big Break 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
In CARTER FINALLY GETS IT, freshman Will Carter feels like he has truly made it. He scores the lead in the school musical Guys and Dolls, and he has an incredibly hot girlfriend. Yeah, his grades still stink, and his best friend, EJ, has gotten way more "lucky" with the ladies, but life is looking pretty good. It would be nice to get a summer job as lifeguard at the local pool, but that's looking fairly iffy. Right now, the only employment prospect involves helping his dad tear off the old deck and rebuild. That's when Carter hears Hollywood is actually planning to film a movie in his little hometown of Merrian. After his success in Guys and Dolls, Carter has a fascination and an appreciation for acting. He and his girlfriend, Abby, decide to try out for the movie. They are familiar with the script based on the book Down Gets Out, which was written by a native of Merrian. C. B. Down came to town to see the school musical and even praised Carter's work, leaving him hopeful about landing a part in the movie. His dream comes true when he is cast as the lead, a young C. B. Down. Unfortunately, Abby only gets the understudy role for the female lead. That's a bummer for Abby, but not so much for Carter, since it means he will be acting opposite Hilary Idaho, an incredibly popular young star. It's the chance of a lifetime, and he knows his pals are going to be totally jealous. Despite the movie producer's doubts, Carter is a natural. His improvising pleases everyone, but he finds out acting isn't as easy as it looks. The stress causes him sleepless nights and constant upheaval in his relationships with friends and family. As time passes, he sees the same stress take its toll on Hilary, his fellow actor. She is spinning out of control, and Carter begins to notice that he is the only one who seems to care. Fans of Brent Crawford's first CARTER novel will be jumping at the chance to find out about Carter's latest adventures. This second book features typical Carter antics and humor; however, there is a bit darker cast to the plot. Crawford shows Carter dealing with some life-changing experiences and facing some tough facts about how people treat one another. Carter is growing up, but so are his fans, who will take these changes in stride, just as they will in their own lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago