After an eventful freshman year and disastrous summer, fifteen-year-old Will Carter returns to Merrian High none the wiser. His sophomore year will present a host of new problems: the return of Scary Terry from juvie, the pregnant presence of Amber Lee, friends-with-benefits negotiations with Abby, prom night expectations, and the ever-constant harassment from his boys. When Abby announces that she might be transferring to a New York arts school, Carter's world is turned upside down and he'll be forced to make the biggest decision of his life. In his signature voice, author Brent Crawford details young Will Carter's high school struggles, this time focusing on Carter's discovery of his true passion and the sacrifices he'll need to make.
I really love some things about this series:
Carter's voice is so real. He's an average teenage boy who thinks about normal things in normal teenage boy ways. I say "normal teenage boy" ways because he absolutely thinks like a boy. Not a girl. Some reviewers (women) complained about how crass and gross and inappropriate some of the stuff in this book was, to which I reply, "It's about a teenage boy. Have you never met a teenage boy?" So, to be clear, there are a lot of references to sex and fighting scenes and boys doing really stupid stuff. But it's so accurate. Teenage boys really are just like that. Crawford honestly and accurately and beautifully captures the essence of average teenage boyhood and writes his character so perfectly that I want every girl in the world to read this just to understand how teenage boys think. Seriously, ladies. Go read it.
Crawford manages to work in some really poignant morals and epiphanies. Carter is always discovering things about himself or about those around him and there are these "Ah-hah!" moments that people sometimes gloss over in real life, if that makes sense. Carter reacts to things like a normal person would but reading about them in this context just makes things so much more clear.
The characters are so fun and lovable. I really just love all these characters and I want to know what happens to them. And they're all layered. I don't think there was one flat character in the whole series. Love that.
Humor. I seriously laughed out loud reading this. Not as much as I laughed during the first book but it was definitely funny. I love Crawford's humor. I wish I could say more about how funny it was... other than, "It was really funny!" But that about sums it up.
So, there's a lot to love here. The whole series is entertaining and teaches some good things without ever being preachy or lame. This last book didn't feel as strong as the first but I still loved it. And I think everyone should read it: Boys to feel completely related to, and girls (and women) to understand how boys think.
Sexual Content: Moderate
Language: Moderate (although most "language" is fake curse words, so there's really not much)
Violence: Heavy (lots of boys fighting)