Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Length: 7 hours, 21 minutes
Here is a brief review of Ethan, Who Loves Carter including my thoughts on the audio performance. You can check out Jay’s review for an alternate review of the story in print form.
Having recently arrived in Santa Josephina from Los Angeles, Carter Stevenson is looking for a quieter pace of life. Carter finds himself easily overwhelmed by people and excessive noise, and has a string of failed relationships to his name. Carter spies a neighbour from the window of his new home, but when they meet the following day, Carter, true to form, experiences “foot-in-mouth” syndrome. Fortunately, Carter’s neighbour Ethan Hart is the forgiving type and the two men begin to form a friendship.
Carter is pleased with his budding relationship with Ethan, figuring that with his Tourette’s and Ethan’s Traumatic Brain Injury, they are a good fit as friends. Ethan does not see things the same way; life for Ethan is black and white and he wants more from Carter. Although Carter finds Ethan attractive, the Traumatic Brain Injury has left Ethan in a somewhat childlike state and Carter feels uncomfortable taking their friendship to the next level.
Ethan’s mother is the one to address Carter’s concerns about a potential relationship with Ethan, and Carter realizes that the problem isn’t Ethan’s behaviour, but rather his own fears and failed past relationships that are at the root of the problem. Both men have issues, but before they can address them, some disturbing news comes to light sending Ethan into a tailspin, dragging Carter along with him. Are the issues too insurmountable, or can Carter and Ethan help each other to finally feel complete?
Tough book. Tougher review. I must admit that I don’t think I could have a relationship with someone like Ethan, I just don’t have the patience that Carter demonstrates in the book. Loveless did a fantastic job of creating Santa Josephina and the cast of characters was well thought out and executed. Every single person we encounter had a purpose, however small. Ethan’s family was just as important as Carter and Ethan, in particular Elliott, Ethan’s brother, who demonstrated every wonderful and terrible thing about being a teenage boy and brother. Although Ethan’s entire family was pivotal to the story, I want to discuss Elliott. I will be the first to admit that I don’t like teens, and Elliott was no exception, but how Loveless addressed his character, in terms of behavior and growth just floored me. The only time I was truly emotional was in a scene featuring Elliott and all I can say is “wow!”, what depth and caring was hiding under that snarky exterior.
The audiobook narrator, K.C. Kelly, did a good job vocalizing Ethan and Carter, although he did slip out of character frequently, making Carter sound like Ethan and vice-versa. Kelly’s narrative voice was similar to Carter’s voice, but not so similar that I was ever confused as to what was going on, and who was speaking. The secondary characters, like Elliott and Ethan’s friends at the beach, were also well formed, and because their parts were smaller, the consistency in their voices was better. Kelly also did a great job with Carter’s stutter and adding the feeling of frustration into his voice when he was experiencing his many physical ticks due to the Tourette’s Syndrome.
I will tell you a secret. At first I thought the pace was too fast and then realized that I had set my device to 2x speed for another book, D’OH! That being said, once I had the story set to regular speed, I really enjoyed it, and found that the editing was well done, with very few noticeable gaps in the play.
As I said at the beginning, tough book, tougher review, but definitely worth the read or as the case may be, listen.