Review: Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

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Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Published by: Walker Books
Publication Date: March 5th, 2015
Series: Better Nate Than Ever
Genres: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Humour, LGBTQIAP+
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Rating: 3
Date Read: 22/08/2017
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository

Thirteen-year-old Nate Foster has always wanted to star in a Broadway show. (In fact, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) With best pal Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom. Tim Federle’s hilarious and touching debut is full of broken curfews, second chances and the adventure of growing up – because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your back garden to finally feel at home. 

Nate Foster dreams of starring in a Broadway show. When auditions are held in New York for E.T.: The Musical, Nate sees his chance to break free of his small town and launch a career in the big city. With the help of his best friend Libby, he embarks on a daring escape to New York, where one simple audition unravels into a night of unanticipated adventure.

There’s a delightful sprinkling of humour in this book, emphasized by Nate’s love of Broadway flops and his honesty about being an awkward, bullied teenager:

“There’s nothing to be scared of, Nate. You’re small and scrappy and can get out of any situation the world throws at you.” Just this past week, I’d been stuffed into a locker by a seventh-grade nose picker who is shorter than I am.

Nate’s journey has as much to do with starring in a Broadway play as it has to do with him figuring out who he wants to be in life:

My sexuality, by the way, is off-topic and unrelated. I am undecided. I am a freshman at the College of Sexuality and I have undecided my major, and frankly, don’t want to declare anything other than “Hey jerks, I’m thirteen, leave me alone. Macaroni and cheese is still my favourite food – how would I know who I want to hook up with?

Federle is a good writer, and the story moves at a good pace. I don’t remember ever reading a book about a kid who was so interested and committed to theatre. Nate’s ability to navigate his way to New York City and tryout for a big-time production is amazing and inspiring, even as he deals with bullies who do not take him seriously, make fun of his “flaws”, and generally put roadblock after roadblock in his path.

Better Nate Than Ever is a charming read about family, theatre, and learning to be the best version of yourself.

Chat With Me

That’s it for this review! Have you read this book? If so, What did you think of it? Is it on your TBR? Tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of this. I’d love to know your opinion.

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