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Books

The Middle of Nowhere

[It] begins in the first person perspective of Aden, a 21-year old Bible camp counselor. After her father is in a life threatening accident, Aden is compelled to return to the sleepy town of Holden, where her family now calls home.
…As a character, Aden is wonderfully complex. She wants so much more from life, and yet searches for it in God, boys, drinking, and even her family’s acceptance. Her stubborn vulnerability will grasps at readers’ heartstrings, masterfully composed by Carter’s vivid descriptions and down-to-earth dialogue.
Carter interweaves varied perspectives and points of view, switching from the present to past memories, and back again. She also begins each chapter with a play list of songs from all genres that masterfully provides the tone and backdrop for the plot to follow.
As the novel continues, readers will be drawn into a colorful cast of small town characters and Carter’s realistic yet creative details and descriptions. Aden soon becomes the reluctant center of intrigue and attention at the heart of this small town. She loves, loses, and loves again. She matures, painstakingly becoming the woman she has always longed to be. Readers will be ensnared by her joys, her ambitions and her struggles, wishing for her happiness and holding their breaths in anticipation at each lonely step along her way.
…The novel authentically reflects real every-day life in this way, and in one moment, everything changes. This is a memorable coming-of-age tale that all can relate to.”
— – Julia Sorrentino for IndieReader
Can I brag that I finished your book today? I feel like I’m so late to the party on this thing – but it was outstanding! I really enjoyed it. Your writing style is such a pleasure to read, and I love the technique you used — sometimes slowly revealing which character was narrating each chapter.
I only wish I could go online and easily download the songs you listed. Awesome work!
— Jason DeRusha
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The dialogue from the characters was beyond superb and so very natural that it may be the highlight of the book. But the way she told the story, weaving it from character to character with a deft hand you wouldn’t expect from a writer’s first effort, truly elevated the book.
— Kevin Watterson
528 pages in 3 days. I haven’t read like that since college. I haven’t been moved to read like that since before then. Excellent character development and the story just keeps bringing you in deeper until finally you tell yourself it’s time for bed…after just one more chapter. At first the chapter layout strikes one as interesting and unique, but as the book continues the stories interweave with one another in ingenious fashion. An excellent and thrilling read, I’m excited to see what more develops from the mind of Ms. Carter.
— Scott Stuglemeyer
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[The Middle of Nowhere] was excellent; one of those stories that stay with you long after swiping the last page. Thanks, Amber! Looking forward to your next book.
— Jeff Cordes
We all remember the struggle to find our self during our late teens and early twenties. Thinking back we cringe at every hurtful thing we said to our parents and friends, count our blessings that we didn’t end up pregnant or in jail, and over analyze how every decision we made led us to where we are currently. While reading this book you will relive your own process and feel nostalgic for that period in your life. A time when you could stay out late, work a stress-free job, date half of the town, and most importantly, discover who you are. Amber successfully created a main character we all knew; our best friend, our co-worker, our crush from down the street, or maybe even our self. Congratulations on a fantastic read Amber…I look forward to your next one!
— – Matt Minor
The Middle of Nowhere
By Amber L. Carter

all the things you never knew // certain things you ought to know

And so I walked out to my mailbox this morning with the vague restlessness of someone scared she’s being watched, and opened it to find an envelope addressed to me, from an address I didn’t recognize. It was Amber’s book, bought so long ago I had forgotten all about it.
And as I sat down to read, not knowing how many of its pages would be about death and guilt, and leaving and staying, always leaving and staying, I found myself crying because I so desperately wished for a friend who understood exactly what that meant, someone for whom sadness was and is more than a fleeting thought, who can understand why licking honey off the back of a spoon, or finding old post it notes, can be just as devastating as anything you might read in the news.
I started this book at 10:30am and finished it at 1:30pm. And even as I thought to myself that it probably wasn’t the best book for today, even as I felt its effects seeping into text message replies and facebook posts, I was despairingly grateful for its lumbering presence. For its sadness and its longing and its loss.
Because there are certain things you should know. And some you never will.
— – Reading :: Andrea of párjaros y muñecas
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…When it arrived, I jammed it into my too-full bag and took it on a work trip to the Midwest. On the flight home the next night, my clothes were rumpled and sweaty and the fat pads of my fingers were streaked with ink. I was weary with the satisfaction of good work and unwasted hours and wanted nothing but to exceed my seat’s narrow allotted space and fall asleep on the businesswoman next to me.
But unfortunately, I made the mistake of starting Amber’s book on take off.
And I read and read for hours. Delighted and destroyed to find this was a book full of You’s.
Sometimes, I think we desperately need to know our friends’ and lovers’ scars. That we’d be better for it. That they’d be better for it. But I also think that we are terrible at being still and watching them show us where it hurt and how. We are chronically squeamish, politely disinterested. Insatiably giddy for the trite conclusion.
Some of Amber’s stories bloated my lungs and guts and heart. Like someone standing above me and pouring buckets of ocean water in slowly and fully. When I walked off that flight, I weighed more for knowing her experiences. The fine details to the vague outlines I had heard over beers and brunches before. I told her once, when she was vulnerable enough to ask, that she is at her strongest when she is cracked open. Slow and authentic and faulted and wanting. That could be the title of this book, and I love her for writing it.
Years ago, I dated a fisherman and lobbyist who had a large, benign tumor in the palm of his hand. He wasn’t a very good man, honestly. But I think a lot of what drove his smarmy facade and habitual dishonesty and tendency to disappear was his brutal insecurity over this “deformity.” The first time I ran my fingers over the fleshy mound — over it and over it and over it — and assured him with my touch that it was a detail and not a flaw, you could almost see him break apart. You could almost hear the prehistoric cracks and groans that glaciers make when they thaw just enough to sluice off themselves and drift away. I never forgot the sound of that.
What I mean, I guess, is that I long for people who aren’t afraid of my wounds and my weaknesses (The desecrated parts of me. The jagged, lousy story lines, the things I want and don’t get. Not the parts that conjure pretty Jessica Chastain tears, but the full on ugly Claire Danes crying. God bless her…) And I want so much to see those parts of you. Maybe it’s obnoxious to call women writers Brave. Maybe we are getting tired of that. But it’s the hum of the word I hear when I read Amber at her best.
The Courage of vulnerability and openness and lack of poise is so illusive. So precious and so hard to sustain. And when we recognize it, we ought to hold it up and keep a space for it.
— Erica Cantoni
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all the things you never knew
By Amber L. Carter