Reviews for Better Nate Than Ever
Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
In this funny and insightful story, the dreams of many a small-town, theater-loving boy are reflected in the starry eyes of eighth-grader Nate. When Nate hops a Greyhound bus to travel across Pennsylvania to try out for the Broadway-bound musical based on the movie E.T., no one but his best friend, Libby, knows about it; not his athletic brother, religious father, or unhappy mother. Self-reliant, almost to an inauthentic fault, he arrives in Manhattan for the first time and finds his way into the audition with dramatic results, and when his estranged actress/waitress aunt suddenly appears, a troubled family history and a useful subplot surface. Nate's emerging sexuality is tactfully addressed in an age-appropriate manner throughout, particularly in his wonderment at the differences between his hometown and N.Y.C., "a world where guys . . . can dance next to other guys who probably liked Phantom of the Opera and not get threatened or assaulted." This talented first-time author has made the classic Chorus Line theme modern and bright for the Glee generation. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Dreaming of Broadway stardom, thirteen-year-old Nate Foster runs away from his dull Pennsylvania town to the Big Apple, and to a casting call for a new musical. Tailor-made for fans of Glee, Federle's debut novel combines humor with an insider's perspective on the theater, an enthusiastic portrait of New York, and a genuine affection for lovable misfit Nate.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
A story of Broadway dreams tailor-made for the younger side of the Glee audience. Jankburg, Penn., has always been too small-town for 13-year-old Nate Foster's Broadway-sized dreams. Jocks and God rule in the Foster house, which is good news for Anthony, Nate's older brother, and bad news for a boy with a soft spot for jazz hands and show tunes. Thankfully, Nate's best friend, Libby, shares his love of the Great White Way. When Libby learns of an upcoming audition for a Broadway-musical version of E.T., it's too good an opportunity to pass up. With Libby as his cover, the two hatch a plan that will have Nate to New York and back with the role of Elliott firmly in hand before anyone even knows he's gone missing. Alas, things rarely go according to plan. Nate is a quirky and endearing leading man from the start, and anyone who has ever felt out of place will easily identify with him. It's a joy to watch him fall head over heels for a city that couldn't care less about him--in the best possible way. Unfortunately, the cartoonish cover art and a predominantly lighthearted beginning may mislead some readers. Federle's debut addresses--deftly--big and solemn issues in the second half of the novel, particularly with regard to family, sexuality and religion. Bravo, Nate! (Fiction. 8-13) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #3
Federle's hilarious and heartwarming debut novel follows 13-year-old musical theater-loving Nate Foster on his meticulously choreographed overnight getaway to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Catchy chapter titles framed in marquee lights ("This'll Be Fast: You Might as Well Meet Dad, Too") and running gags, like Nate's use of Broadway flops as epithets ("Moose Murders it all to tarnation!"), add to the theatrical atmosphere as Nate breathlessly narrates his backstory and real-time adventures. Federle (who has himself worked on Broadway) combines high-stakes drama with slapstick comedy as Nate travels by Greyhound bus--dying cellphone and dollars in hand--determined to get to the audition, conceal his lack of chaperone, and compete in the cutthroat world of child actors and stage parents. Nate's desperation to escape his stifling home environment, instant love affair with the city, questions about his sexuality, and relationship with his dysfunctional but sympathetic family add emotional depth. Federle's supporting characters affirm theater's "no small roles" adage, and E.T. references abound--like Elliott's bicycle in the film, this book soars. Ages 9-13. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March
Gr 5-8--Irrepressible 13-year-old Nate Foster is certain that stardom awaits, as soon as he can leave his stifling life in small-town Jankburg, Pennsylvania, behind. Using his ever-loyal best friend, Libby, as an alibi, he sneaks away to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Nate and Libby have an endearing habit of using the names of Broadway flops as stand-ins for foul language. A madcap adventure featuring bossy receptionists, cutthroat fellow performers, and wacky casting directors follows. With the help of an understanding aunt, Nate remains goofy and upbeat in the face of constant criticism and rejection. A fun and suspenseful ending will leave readers guessing whether Nate scores the part or not. Federle's semiautobiographical debut explores weighty issues such as sibling rivalry, bullying, religious parents, and gay or questioning teens with a remarkably lighthearted and humorous touch totally appropriate for young audiences.--Madigan McGillicuddy, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta, GA [Page 156]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.