Wednesday, April 3, 2013

REVIEW: Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Title:                       Better Nate Than Ever
Author:                   Tim Federle 
Release Date:      Feb 5/2013
Genre:                Middle Grade Contemporary
Publisher:           Simon and Schuster BFYR
Page Count:        288
Acquired:            Won from S&S on Twitter
Format:              Print ARC
Read On:             March 19-Apr 2/2013
Goodreads:         ADD
Purchase:           Amazon/Indigo/The Book Depository

Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he'd settle for *seeing* a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With 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.


I know as much about Broadway, as I know about how cars are built, which is very close to nothing. With that sorry excuse for an analogy said, I enjoyed the heck out of this book. Better Nate Than Ever was exactly what I hoped a book about a 13-year boy who ran away to New York to audition for Elliot in E.T. WOULD be, and SO much more. I laughed, and cheered, out loud. And in the end, my whole heart belonged to Nate Foster.

Nate is 13-years old, and wants to be a the next big Broadway star. His every waking moment is spent lost in a show tune, being sung from the top of his lungs. In his mind, and his best friend Libby's, nothing would mean more than making it big-conquering the world by song and act. Unfortunately, not everyone in Nate's life feels that strongly about his dreams. At school, Nate is yet another victim of merciless taunting, and bullying, for being different. He lives in the shadow of his older, more athletic, more good-looking, more "normal" older brother, Anthony. Even his parents seem to have given up hope on him entirely, putting all of their awe, care and focus on his brother's achievements. But Nate wants luck on his side, and with the help of Libby, he hops on a bus to New York city. An audition for the role of Elliot in E.T. is calling his name, and he wants to make sure he answers.

Every step Nate took came with an innocently witty line, an observation, a wishful thought. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the dialogue of a preteen boy this much.. Nate's hopeful personality was infectious, and downright hilarious. I really wish I could quote some of the amazing one-liners, but I'm reviewing the ARC. I've felt the magic of New York for myself, but reading about Nate experiencing it was a whole new joy. He was the ultimate tourist, and the more mishaps he got himself into, the more I fell in love with him.

Better Nate Than Ever was the ultimate story of following your dreams, but it dealt with so many other underlying issues: family conflicts, bullying, gender roles, and finding out who you really are, and accepting it. My heart broke in so many places for Nate, but at the same time, I knew I was bearing witness to the events that would lead to an awesome self discovery. Better Nate Than Ever is being sold as a Middle Grade novel, but I think people of all ages could appreciate what this book helped me discover: that sometimes being different from everyone else is the best thing that you could ever give the world.

This book made me so happy.

Recommended for fans of: Middle Grade, contemporary, and comedy. 


  1. WOW! Broadway! YES I would love to be a broadway star like Nate Foster. Unfortunatelly, I can't since my mom told me it's just a hobby not a profession. So yes, I will purchase this book :) I see you like it too. Thanks for your review.

  2. This sounds like a great book! I'll have to read it with my kids.


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