Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ
Published: February 5th, 2013 by Simon & Schuster BFYR
Audiobook, 345 minutes
How I Got This Book: Checked out the audiobook from my library
Why I Picked It Up?: I had heard some buzz about this book when it first came out, but then Laura (The Leading Librarian) was GUSHING over it, so I knew I had to make it my next listen!
Book Jacket Blurb: “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’ll be perfectly honest: I listened to this book over the summer!
*Gasp* I know, that was a while ago. And I meant to write a review about it. I just didn’t. But now I did! Yay!
Better Nate than Ever is the story about Nate’s adventure to the Big City to fulfill his life’s dream of auditioning for a musical! The problem is, he is thirteen and his parents said ‘NO WAY!” His answer? Have his best friend Libby cover for him while he sneaks away to the City for an overnight adventure of a lifetime! What could possibly go wrong?
Everything, that’s what.
This book is such a fun reading experience all around. Nate’s story is a silly, boisterous, amusing, adventurous, emotional, heart-felt, quirky, ridiculous, close-to-home one (and yes, that is quite a long list of characteristics, but each one is hit in the most beautiful way). I am so glad that I decided to listen to this book, because it is read by the author, and he is phenomenal!
What makes this book so great? (Here is my short list)
1. Nate is such a dynamic character and a true hero to the story. This story centers around Nate as he faces many different scenarios. And as he faces each dilemma his is presented with, he does so with his whole being. He is the type of person who does every single task completely and whole-heartedly, even if he has no idea what he is doing. I feel that he is someone that we all strive to be–that kid who doesn’t care how ridiculous he sounds or how weird others may think he is. Nate is just Nate, and to read a story where that is the truth of the novel is so refreshing and lends to such a beautiful and fun story.
2. This is a realistic personal adventure story that would also appeal to many types of readers! This story encompasses so many genres and types of stories, and that is what I love about it. While this is a realistic (though very humorous) fiction story, it is told in a mock-odyssey kind of way, where the adventure is so big and daunting and takes so much courage, even if at the heart of it, it is just a journey to the city. But you could hand this book to a person who loves funny stories, or real stories, or stories with great characters, or adventure stories, or musical theatre. There are SO many different readers that this book reaches to, and I just love that!
3. It’s just a funny yet real story. While hilarious and over the top, this book also deals with some serious subject matter (even if it is in a more light-hearted manner). This book looks at family issues, gender issues, bullying, identity, self-confidence, and independence. It’s a funny story, but the story is so real and relatable that I think everyone that picks this book up will get something out of it.
That’s my short-list about why this book is so great! Here is my short[er] list about why you should LISTEN to it!
1. Tim Federle is awesome!
2. He is an energetic and engaging reader.
3. Nate becomes alive in your ears, and it is lovely!
I would have loved for this recording to incorporate music more, especially since this is a book centered around musical theatre, but it is still a listening experience that I would recommend to anyone and everyone!
My Bookshelf Rating:
This book is so adorable! A great story and a great audio listen! I really enjoyed Nate’s character a lot–he is quirky and adorable and not afraid of who he is. What a great role model for kids of all ages! Also, hearing Tim Federle read his own book is an experience that no other narrator could have replicated. He adds so much extra depth and nuance to this story that just makes Nate come alive in a way that I don’t know could have happened any other way for me.
Great Addition for Elementary and Middle School Libraries!
Love and Turkey Bacon,