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The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys

The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys

For Ages: 12 and up
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While bullies are beating up Charlie, his ex–bestfriend Jake pulls up in a bright red ’67 Mustang—the principal’s car—and tells him to get in. It’s a choice between a broken nose and the risk of a lifetime, and Charlie, a self-described straight-A student and grade-A geek, decides to take a chance. Now the two teens are on a mission to find Charlie’s absent father and avoid arrest for car theft. An eventful journey puts Charlie in the middle of a court case 1,000 miles from home. And in the courtroom, he will have to make the ultimate choice of his life.
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416982500 | 
  • April 2010 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile 780
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Read an Excerpt

chapter one

If I’m going to tell you how I killed this kid, I can’t start on the day it happened. It won’t make any sense, and you’ll just think I was some psycho teenage boy with glue for brains. No, the whole thing really started three days earlier, on Monday, which made it bad straight off. It was also raining, which made it even worse.

In fact, it was raining so hard that my tennis shoes were soaked before I even walked two blocks from our house. Not just kind of wet, either, but really soaked in that way your socks get all squishy and your feet make those mucky sounds each time you take a step.... see more
chapter two

When you have to go to the bathroom, there comes a point when your willpower has been stretched to the limit. There’re literally tears in your eyes, you want to go so bad. It’s like a near-death experience. You might see yourself in a dark tunnel, a light at the end. Maybe you hear angels singing. You’re balancing on the edge of a cliff, and the slightest little thing could push you off. Anything. A little breeze. The brush of a feather. Maybe even a loud thought. That’s where I was: right at the edge.

Jake’s voice startled me, and I dropped my backpack onto the floor. But I... see more

About the Author

Scott William Carter
Photograph © Heidi Carter

Scott William Carter

Scott William Carter is the author of Wooden Bones and The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, which was hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “touching and impressive debut.” His short stories have appeared in dozens of popular magazines and anthologies, including Analog, Ellery Queen, Realms of Fantasy, and Weird Tales. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two children. Visit him at


Author Revealed

Scott William Carter
Q. how did you come to write The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys?

A. I was inspired by someone I know who ran away from home as a teenager, getting caught because they committed a crime far away, in another state. I also wanted an opportunity to work out my long repressed teenage angst.

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