Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless Audiobook Review

By twenty-four, Carter Stevenson has stuttered and ticced his way to debilitating shyness. Although his friends accuse him of letting his Tourette's dictate his life, Carter moves from Los Angeles to a quiet California town. He'll keep his head down and avoid people. He doesn't anticipate his new neighbor, Ethan Hart, crashing into his solitude and forcing him to get out and live.

From the beginning, Ethan makes his love for Carter clear. But he fears Carter won't see past Ethan's damaged brain, even though it makes Ethan more attuned to his emotions than most people. For Carter, there's a bigger issue: he's been burned by so-called "perfect" matches, and he won't risk his heart again.

One way or another, Ethan's determined to show Carter they belong together. Then Ethan receives tragic news. Suddenly he must turn to Carter for strength and support. Will Carter come through when Ethan needs him most?

Length: 7 hrs, 21 mins
Narrator: K.C. Kelly

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Amazon Audiobook  ~  Audible  ~  Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I discovered Ethan, Who Loved Carter after listening to K.C. Kelly’s narration of Knave of Broken Hearts. I fell in love with Kelly’s voice, so having credits I needed to use, I went in search of other audiobooks he’d narrated. When I read the blurb for Ethan, Who Loved Carter, I knew that I had to have it. I’ve worked with persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and persons with stutters and tics similar to those of Tourette’s, so I couldn’t wait to delve into Ethan and Carter’s story. And Loveless’s words and Kelly’s performance made this an audiobook I know I will listen to again and again. I’m actually writing this review after listening to the audiobook for a second time, six months after the first. I wanted to experience Ethan and Carter’s story again because Loveless is releasing a young adult version of the novel entitled Ethan later this month.

Ethan, Who Loved Carter is an absolutely beautiful tale of acceptance – of one’s self and of others. Because of his stutters and tics, Carter is often underestimated by those around him who don’t know him. Sadly, this is an all too real occurrence, people assuming that because an individual has a disorder that impedes their ability to communicate, that they are not intelligent. Even knowing this, Carter’s initial interaction with Ethan is tinged with similar misjudgment because Carter assumes that whatever is “wrong” with Ethan will make him easier to talk to; and while Carter is able to stop stuttering while talking to Ethan, it only lasts long enough for Carter to stick his foot in his mouth. Despite his tendency to avoid stressful situations, Carter forces himself to go to Ethan’s house next door and apologize for what he said. Thus begins the journey of two men becoming friends, learning to enjoy one another’s company, learning to care about one another and each wanting to take care of other, and eventually becoming more once Carter admits to himself that he wants to be more than just friends with Ethan – something Ethan has wanted from the very beginning.

One of the many things I love about Ethan is how he sees Carter’s tics as music and is able to communicate his enjoyment of Carter’s “music” in such a way that Carter takes pleasure in Ethan’s joy. I also found Ethan’s capacity to love and to forgive to be beyond heartwarming. It’s far too easy to focus on the negative and see what’s missing in a person after they’ve experienced a TBI, but Ethan reminds us that we need to look at the entire person because while Ethan may not have had the chance to become the person he was on his way to being, his life is still rich – full of friends, family, happiness, and love. Ethan’s family plays a pivotal role in the novel as they are a big part in his life. I really liked how Loveless was able to show the love and support of the family, while adding the realism of the frustration and occasional resentment siblings may experience. Ethan’s family is not portrayed as being perfect and I love the author for that because it not only adds to the realism of the story, but keeps other caregivers from feeling guilty for not living up to fictional characters. And their easy acceptance of Carter into Ethan’s life made me happier than I can express for so many reasons. Having just finished the audiobook, with Carter’s wish for a teen-aged Ethan to have been in his life fresh on my mind, I cannot wait to crack open Ethan.

RYAN LOVELESS is a farmer’s daughter. She has a BA in English from a private college in Illinois and a master’s degree in library and information science with an archival certificate from a university in New York. Raised in a conservative family, she was shocked and relieved when her coming out was largely uneventful. She has been writing since she could read and has always drifted toward M/M because she enjoys the relationship dynamics. It’s possible that her first story was about GI Joe. She wishes she still had that story.

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Angela reviewed her personal copy of Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless, Narrated by K.C. Kelly for this post.

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