Written by Tim Federle
Lovable, adorable thirteen-year-old Nate sets off for his first Broadway audition, taking the reader along on a great and hilarious adventure. He and his best friend, Libby, think they’ve thoroughly prepared him for the trip and for the audition, but few things go the way they expected. Strangely enough, their preparations really do help, though. For example, they write a speech for the bus ticket agent. He uses it as a well-received monologue in his audition. His special talent turns out to be bottle walking, as they rehearsed in Fiddler on the Roof. Nate’s daydreaming and obsession with Applebee’s add to the fun. Throughout the story, it’s unclear whether Nate is moving toward something, such as a career as a singer/actor, or away from something, such as all the bullying he endures due to his small stature and love of musical theater. What is clear is that Nate finds himself somewhere along the way. And he’s a better Nate for it.
Recommended for sixth grade or mature fifth graders, mainly due to content. Nate is questioning his sexuality and is constantly reminded that he appears to be a little different from the norm. He encounters several examples of homosexuality and remarks on each. Also, he does take a bus into New York by himself and even remarks on the dangers of such a trip. His mother is a recovering alcoholic, and he learns other tragic items about his family.
Winner of several awards: a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Slate Favorite Book of the Year. The publisher’s website has a lot of content related to Nate: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Better-Nate-Than-Ever/Tim-Federle/9781442446915. The author’s website, http://timfederle.com/, is almost as fun as his books.
- Title: Better Nate than Ever
- Author: Tim Federle
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 275 pages
- Genre: Fiction, coming of age, humor
- ISBN: 978-1-4424-4689-2