Better Nate Than Ever
by Tim Federle [j Federle]
This book was recommended to me by a fellow theatre lover, and I'm very glad I took his recommendation...it was a terrific read! Classified as a youth book (j Federle), I still found it appealing as an adult. Nate Foster, at 13, is a picked-upon kid in school, younger brother of a star athlete and BMOC. He doesn't really feel connected to his parents, and his only real friend is a girl (Libby) who transferred to his Pennsylvania public school from a performing arts academy. His one great love – shared with Libby – is musical theatre. He's bullied by all the "normal" kids for not fitting in, and seeming to be "gay" because of his non-typical interests. He may not be able to sink a shot from the three point line, but he can perform monologues and sing entire show-stopping numbers from nearly any Broadway hit produced in the past 20 years. Nate is taking advantage of his parents' absence for a few days, and his older brother's obliviousness, to escape from Jankburg PA via a Greyhound bus to attend auditions for a new Broadway musical version of E.T. the Extraterrestrial. This novel chronicles his experiences on his own, and after he connects with his former-actress aunt, now a waitress in New York City, who's estranged from the rest of the family, mainly for having the same kinds of goals that Nate now has. The characters are smart and witty, the dialog is filled with equal parts hilarious zingers and angst, and as a reader you really get a strong sense of what auditioning (as a kid) for a theatrical show must be like. Nate is going through a lot of things in his personal life, trying to figure out who he is and what he's going to be, so expect a little soul-searching in addition to the humor, and a little of Nate figuring out his own sexuality. One of my favorite running gags is how Nate and Libby substitute the names of Broadway musical flops for swear words. Anyone with a love for the theatre, particularly musicals, should enjoy this charming book. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [Once you're done with this one, read the sequel -- Five, Six, Seven, Nate! -- right away; it picks up just a couple of months later...]
[ publisher's official Better Nate Than Ever web site ] | [ official Tim Federle web site ]
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